Before I come to the events of my week, I would like to address the killing of Kansas abortion physician Dr. George Tiller last Sunday.
This was indeed a tragedy on many different levels. Certainly it was a tragedy for Dr. Tiller and his family, as well as the fact that the violence took place in a church -- a place where people go to pray and to seek spiritual solace.
Obviously, this was the act of a very disturbed person and it is a tragedy for that man and his family, as well. All of those who are working in the pro-life movement are horrified by acts of this kind and repudiate the use of violence; it is in direct contradiction to what the pro-life movement must stand for.
We pray for healing in all of the communities that have been affected by this very tragic crime. We pray, as well, for the day when human life will be protected, at all stages, and that our country as a whole will reject the violence of abortion, the violence of capital punishment and the violence that results from the proliferation of arms in our population.
Last Friday (May 29), I had lunch with the newly ordained priests and the members of their families here at the Pastoral Center.
It has been a custom after their First Masses to have an opportunity to come together to meet and congratulate their families and to hear about their experiences.
I hear that all of the new priests had wonderful experiences at their First Masses. A couple of them had the courage to preach at their First Masses, while others invited respected friends to do it for them.
At the time of my ordination, no one preached at their First Mass. It is nice if you can do it, but I also certainly understand why someone would prefer to have a guest preacher at that Mass.
I celebrated my own First Mass at the Convent of the Poor Clares.
I had a very eloquent guest preacher at my First Mass, a Capuchin friar named Father Paul Brody who was a missionary in the mountains of Puerto Rico. It was only my family there, a very small and intimate celebration and I remember the sisters of the cloister sang like angels.
A week later I had my first public Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington where I celebrated the Mass of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre with the Cuban community -- I did preach at that one!
Often, I joke about new priests having their first-First Mass, their second-First Mass and the third-First Mass... but I did it myself!
(Monday) evening, I went to Boston University for the awarding of the Medeiros Scholarships.
Each year, BU awards several full, four-year scholarships to outstanding students at our Catholic high schools. This year, they presented scholarships to 10 graduating seniors:
-- Edward W. Adams III of Boston College High School
-- Daniel H. Bradley of Central Catholic High School
-- Rebecca L. Gabriel of Presentation of Mary Academy
-- Rebecca A. Gulla-Devaney of Our Lady of Nazareth Academy
-- Michaela A. Immar of Cardinal Spellman Central High School
-- Derek C. Liberti of Arlington Catholic High School
-- Kristen M. Maney of Pope John XXIII High School
-- Mark A. Medeiros of Malden Catholic High School
-- Arianna Medina of Bishop Fenwick High School
-- Sarah E. Shaughnessy of Notre Dame Academy
It is an extraordinary recognition of the quality of Catholic education that Boston University would be willing to dedicate such great resources to ensure getting students from our Catholic schools enrolled in the university.