From Cardinal Seán’s blog

Stewardship seminar

Last Saturday, Bishop John Boles and I addressed a seminar on stewardship at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton. Various parishes throughout the archdiocese sent representatives.

I led the group in morning prayer and shared with them some of my reflections on the importance of stewardship. Our Catholic people need to understand that stewardship is not just about fundraising. Rather, it is a way of living a life of discipleship and giving back to God. The Lord has given us everything we have and everything we are, and we must recognize that in the way we use our time, treasure and talent.

Stewardship is a very important spirituality for our lay people, and I am very pleased that so many parishes are beginning to take advantage of this wonderful program. It allows them to reflect on the Gospel teachings and invites people to lead a very deep spirituality that involves them at every level in the life of the Church.


Later that day, I traveled to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Braintree for a groundbreaking on a new addition that will add rooms and an elevator to the church, to make the building handicapped accessible and more friendly for families with young children.

A number of parishioners were there, including the Nortons, a lovely family with a little boy who was in a wheelchair. His presence brought home how important accessibility is for our parishioners. He was 4 or 5 years old and as cute as a button.

Centennial celebration

In the evening I attended the celebration closing the centennial year of St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham. The parish is under the pastoral care of the Scalabrinian Fathers. Father Joseph Pranzo, the pastor, was very gracious and welcoming. He is doing a wonderful job bringing together the different ethnic groups present at the parish, particularly in welcoming the Brazilian community, which is a very important part of the parish.

I began my visit to the parish by blessing their new early childhood education center as well as a new, state of the art computer center at St. Tarcisius School. The principal, Mary Ellen Wyman, is doing wonderful things there.

After the blessing we joined the rest of the parish community in the church for the Mass to close the centennial year.

Annual disability Mass

On Sunday, I celebrated the archdiocese’s annual Mass for persons with disabilities at St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Hanover.

In my homily, I quoted the first paragraph in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral statement on people with disabilities. This paragraph, which I have posted below, is a beautiful explanation of the Church’s responsibility to serve those with disabilities.

“The same Jesus who heard the cry for recognition from the people with disabilities of Judea and Samaria 2,000 years ago calls us, His followers, to embrace our responsibility to our own disabled brothers and sisters in the United States. The Catholic Church pursues its mission by furthering the spiritual, intellectual, moral and physical development of the people it serves. As pastors of the Church in America, we are committed to working for a deeper understanding of both the pain and the potential of our neighbors who are blind, deaf, mentally retarded, emotionally impaired, who have special learning problems, or who suffer from single or multiple physical handicaps?all those whom disability may set apart. We call upon people of goodwill to reexamine their attitudes toward their brothers and sisters with disabilities and promote their well-being, acting with the sense of justice and the compassion that the Lord so clearly desires. Further, realizing the unique gifts individuals with disabilities have to offer the Church, we wish to address the need for their integration into the Christian community and their fuller participation in its life.”

The Gospel reading that day was about Zacchaeus, and I said that, in the Gospel, the crowd kept pushing Zacchaeus away, making it impossible for him to see the Lord. That is why he had to climb the sycamore tree. I added that in our Church, we do not want to be like a crowd that pushes people away. We want to be a community that draws people closer to Christ.

Also in this week’s blog:

> Commenting on Mary Ann Glendon being nominated ambassador of the United States to the Holy See

> Cardinal Cushing Award Banquet for the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle.

> Meeting Lisa Palmieri-Billig, the American Jewish Committee’s representative in Rome and liaison to the Vatican.

> Meeting Father George Madathiparampil, vicar general of Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago.

> Meeting with the New England Conference of directors of Religious education.