From Cardinal Seán’s blog

Hospital chaplains’ gathering

Two weeks ago I attended an annual gathering for hospital chaplains at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton. The guest speaker at the event was Susan Conroy, author of “Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love and Secrets of Sanctity,” a book in which she describes her experiences working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta back in 1986. It was very well received.

At the banquet gathering, a number of chaplains were singled out for their extraordinary service to God’s people.

Our Catholic people are very grateful for the tireless ministry of the priests, religious and laity who work in hospital ministry. They make themselves so available to the sick, the injured, their families and the staffs of these institutions. It is a very special moment of grace in the life of a person when they are facing an illness, serious operation or injury. Having the spiritual support of the sacraments, chaplains and ministers is a great blessing for people in those moments.

On Friday I was invited to join the Sisters of Notre Dame for a meeting of the international leadership of their community. There were sisters there from all over the world. Their superior general, who is an American sister, and their council from Rome came. There were many sisters from Africa, Japan and Peru.

It was very interesting to hear about the wonderful growth of the order, particularly in Africa. It was very encouraging and it reminded me of the many international meetings that I have been to in my own religious community.

10th anniversary of Our Lady of Hope

Saturday I attended the 10th anniversary of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Ipswich. Father John Kiley and his parish were very, very gracious. It was a lovely celebration, and they had a magnificent choir. The woman who did the cantoring had an extraordinarily beautiful voice.

The celebration was to mark the 10th year of the merger of the area parishes there. I just commend Father Kiley and the leadership there that worked so hard to bring this about. The parish is obviously thriving and a great source of blessings for the people that make up that family.

Communion and Liberation gathering

That day we also met with the local membership of Communion and Liberation, one of the most well-known new movements in the Church. I celebrated Mass for them. They had a Schola Cantorum to sing for the Mass, which was exquisite. They sang all this four-voice music, and it was a very lovely experience. We are blessed to have Communion and Liberation in the diocese.

At the dinner following the Mass, a number of individuals gave witnesses about their lives in this ecclesial movement and how it has helped them. There was quite a variety of people. One individual spoke as a doctor. Then a housewife spoke and finally a student. After the meal there was a sing-a-long, which is very typical of Communion and Liberation gatherings. They do a lot of singing.

Meeting with French journalists

On Wednesday, I was visited by Bishop Michel Dubost of the French diocese of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, accompanied a large group of journalists from the Bayard group. Bayard is a very large French publishing group that was founded by the Augustinians of the Assumption -- better known as the Assumptionists -- in the 19th century.

Among the publications that they are responsible for are La Croix, which is a French daily newspaper that ranks sixth in circulation. The also publish a weekly magazine called Pèlerin. Americans are mostly likely to know Bayard as the parent company of Catholic Digest.

The group is visiting the United States in sort of a fact-finding mission they told me. Though mostly from France, there were also some French Canadians among the group. Many of them are writers for the different publications that they produce.

In our discussions they asked me first to comment on the state of the Church in the United States and in Boston. Then, they asked me questions.

It was an unexpected chance to practice my French as very few of them spoke English. It was very nice to meet the bishop and I was intrigued by the fact that so many would come to partake in the interview. I hope that they were satisfied with my answers!

Also in this week’s blog:

> Attending a lecture by Marco Impagliazzo, president of the international Community of Sant’Egidio.

> Celebrating Pro-Life Sunday and participating at the Respect Life Walk for Mothers and Children.

> Greeting the supreme patriarch and catholicos of the Armenian Church.

> Meeting the U.S. Jesuit provincials

> Speaking at a session of Theology on Tap.