From Cardinal Seán’s blog

On the papal visit

This week, we had our fall United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore where Archbishop Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, graciously told us the official dates and itinerary of the pope’s visit next year. The trip will take place next April and will include two cities, Washington and New York, as well as a visit to the United Nations.

We are of course very happy that the Holy Father is coming to the United States. His presence in our country will be an opportunity for all of us to experience his ministry and listen to the words that he will direct toward us as Americans.

As I am sure you are aware, I had invited the Holy Father to come to Boston, but I understand that there are limitations to how much the Holy Father can travel because of his age. In fact, he will turn 81 while he is with us next year.

We would certainly have loved to have him come to Boston, and we hope that perhaps at some future date he will be able to come, but we know that it is not possible for him to visit every diocese.

Por Cristo Mass and dinner

Last week on Wednesday, the Por Cristo Mass and dinner was held at Emmanuel College.

Like the St. James Society, the Por Cristo organization serves the poorest of the poor in Latin America. It is another way the Church of Boston reaches out to that part of the world. Through Por Cristo, our Catholic Health Care System, Caritas Christi, organizes trips for Boston doctors and specialists to help out in Ecuador. They also send medical supplies and financial aid.

We have a small staff of Por Cristo here in Boston -- Joe Reardon, Orlando Vargas and Deborah Clark. They are doing a wonderful job supporting this fantastic mission.

Gary Kaneb is also a huge support as president of the board. Dr. John Chessare, interim president and secretary of Caritas, was at the banquet as well.

I think it is important for people to realize that our Catholic health care system is not only focused on serving the needs of our local community. It also very generously helps those in Latin American -- where one of the greatest health problems is as simple as nutrition.

Before Por Cristo began working there, 60 children a year were dying of malnutrition in that one community in Ecuador. Now that has been completely wiped out, and the many medical services that are provided have made an enormous difference in the quality of life of the people in Ecuador.

St. John’s Seminary alumni gathering

This is the third year that we have invited the alumni of St. John’s Seminary in Brighton for a vespers service and meal. The response of the priests has always been very good.

This year there were 165 priests that came not only from the archdiocese but from other dioceses in Massachusetts as well as from as far away as Scranton, Pa. and Maine.

It is always a wonderful opportunity for the priests to gather and to enjoy priestly fraternity. For some of them it had been a long time since they had come to St. John’s. Also, this year it was an opportunity for many to meet new rector Father Arthur Kennedy, to meet the current seminarians, to pray with their brother priests at a holy hour and to share a meal.

I think all the priests and seminarians were very appreciative of the opportunity to gather.

Also in this post:

> Reflections on the U.S. bishops’ meeting