From Cardinal Seán’s blog

“With Fathers Molloy and Keyes and the director of the St. James Society, Father Kevin Hayes.” Pilot photo/Cardinal Seansblog.org

As many of you know, our government has begun their final push to enact comprehensive health care reform.

The bishops’ position on health care reform has favored a new system that will provide universal coverage, but the current process may end up creating a bill that will provide federal funding for abortion. As much as we agree on the need to provide universal coverage, we cannot support a health care bill at the expense of life.

The Senate Bill that passed before Christmas and which is now expected to be “reconciled” is unacceptable in terms of funding for abortion and conscience protection. It even includes funding for Planned Parenthood abortion centers among other anti-life related issues.

Missionary sending

On Sunday (March 7), I offered a Mass at St. Stephen’s in the North End, which is the headquarters of the Missionary Society of St. James.

During the Mass, we had the sending ceremony for two priests who are beginning their ministries in Latin America through the Society: Father Tom Keyes and Father John Molloy.

Father Keyes has served with the Society in Bolivia before and he is currently at St. Lucy’s in Methuen. He will be heading off in April to work in Peru.

Father Molloy is from County Clare, Ireland. His family and some of his classmates flew in from Ireland to join him for the sending Mass. I understand he will be in mission in Ecuador.

I blessed the missionary crosses which were given to them.

Cardinal Cushing started the society 50 years ago and during that time we have sent over 300 priests. May God bless and protect these men as they help to continue that important work!

Farewell

Yesterday (March 11), we had a luncheon to honor Diane Rosenbaum for her work at the Anti-Defamation League. We have had a longstanding relationship with ADL, and Diane, who’s moving on to other ventures, has been a particularly good friend to local Catholic-Jewish relations.

In addition to being involved with many other projects at ADL, Diane has spent a great deal of her time, devotion and enthusiasm overseeing a unique program co-sponsored by the archdiocese and the Anti-Defamation League. The program is called “New Directions” and is co-directed by two outstanding educators, Celia Sirois, who is Catholic, and Naomi Towvim, who is Jewish.

“New Directions” is a series of workshops to teach Catholic and Jewish religious educators how to talk about the other with accuracy and respect. We’re very grateful for all that Diane and ADL have done with us to continue to develop and fund this unique program. And we wish all the best to Diane as she seeks to continue her great work in Christian-Jewish relations.

Council of Churches

Later I met with Rev. Jack Johnson of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and a number of the leaders of the other Christian denominations in Massachusetts, including Metropolitan Methodios.

We discussed a number of issues including the situation in Haiti and about the need to work together to oppose the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts.

Another issue of common concern we spoke about was ways to promote the Sabbath. More and more we are seeing social activities, like sports events and practices, that are scheduled on Sundays -- at the same time as religious services. This is a matter of concern for all of us and we hope to work together so people do not feel forced to choose between attending church services and these other events.

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