As I do upon occasion, before I get to the events of my week, I would like to comment on an issue that is of great importance to me.
The governor and the legislature in the commonwealth face excruciatingly difficult choices this week. Final decisions about the budget bring together the fact of an economy in deep recession, declining state revenues and multiple human needs among the citizens of the commonwealth. Those human needs -- for nutrition, housing and health care -- must be a high priority for the Church and its ministry.
Our agencies -- Catholic Charities, the Caritas Health Care System and the Office of Planning and Urban Affairs -- are stretched to the limit these days, but that is the work we should be doing.
A particular issue of concern to me is the possibility that funding for health coverage for 28,000 legal immigrants may be cut in whole or in part. The Church, through Catholic Charities and through our parishes, is in direct and regular service of the immigrant community.
My hope and my request is that a way can be found to sustain health coverage for these legal members of our community. Their resources are few and their support system is always stretched thin. The commonwealth has done a very commendable job of providing health care to the citizens of Massachusetts. It would be a tragic mistake to let these 28,000 members of our community lose access to the precious good of health care.
Honoring Msgr. Tierney
(Wednesday July 22), I attended a luncheon to honor Msgr. Jim Tierney who, for 19 years, has headed up Regina Cleri. It was a chance to publicly acknowledge his fine work and thank him.
The staff presented him with a lovely clock as a gift.
Regina Cleri is a wonderful community for our retired priests, and Msgr. Tierney served them with such dedication and a real sense of fraternity, which has truly made it a home for the residents who are there. He will continue to live there in his own retirement.
We are very grateful for the good work of Stephen Gust, who is serving as interim director, and also Covenant Health Care, run by the Grey Nuns, which is helping us to administer Regina Cleri.
Seven Seals Award
Thursday (July 23), I was honored to receive the Seven Seals Award from the Massachusetts Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
The Seven Seals Award is the highest state award given from the group, which is a component of the Department of Defense. The award is given in recognition of significant and enduring support of the Guard and Reserve.
The Archdiocese of Boston has a rich tradition of support for our armed services and continues to provide chaplains to minister and provide the sacraments to those who serve our country.
I am grateful to, and proud of, all of the chaplains who have served in this capacity, both past and present.
Joining us for this event were representatives from the ESGR and several Boston priests who have served as chaplains for our troops: Msgr. John McDonough, Father Dan Hickey, Father Ed Condon and Father Richard Erikson. They are representatives of the many priests who povide spiritual care for those in the armed forces. I pray that God continues to bless all of our troops and the military chaplains who care for them.