Friday (July 23), I attended the funeral Mass of long-time BC High football coach Jim Cotter, who passed away after a long bout with Lou Gehrig's Disease.
His funeral Mass was in the McNeice Pavilion at BC High where he had spent decades working with young men there as a history teacher, guidance counselor and coach.
Although I was somewhat surprised when I heard of the venue, when I saw the number of people who were there I realized that not many churches could have accommodated that size crowd. And besides, the funeral was at the place where he had served so many for so long.
Father Myles Sheehan S.J., Provincial for the Jesuits of the New England Province, was the principal celebrant and offered a wonderful homily that focused us on the faith that sustained Coach Cotter. Coach's daughter, Grace Cotter Regan, offered a heartfelt and moving reflection; her words gave great honor to her father and were a tribute to his many achievements.
In my comments I mentioned that Lou Gehrig's Disease is such a terrible disease that induces many people to embrace immoral solutions such as physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.
However, in the case of Coach Cotter, he was surrounded with love and his long suffering was a witness of courage and faith, and of the preciousness of human life. His family was there with him.
He was an outstanding Catholic layman. We think of the generations of priests and religious brothers and sisters that have run these schools; but here is a layman who, for his whole life, has given to Catholic education. His faith and sense of mission were foremost in his life. The outpouring of support for him and tribute of his funeral were a very striking witness to the whole community.
May he rest in peace.
Visiting retired sisters
Sunday, I celebrated Mass for the Sisters of St. Joseph at Bethany Health Care Center, their assisted living residence in Framingham.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have a remarkable retirement home for their sisters. Members of other religious communities and lay people live there too, though the majority of the residents are Sisters of St. Joseph.
The sisters told me that every year there is an inspection of all the nursing homes in the state and theirs is always rated among the best.
We had a lovely Mass with the sisters and those who were unable to come to the chapel had closed-circuit televisions, so they could watch the Mass from their rooms. Afterwards, I went around visiting the sisters in their various units.
A number of sisters are over 100, and one of them I met is still very active.
These sisters have given so much to Catholic education and were the teachers of thousands upon thousands of people who were the beneficiaries of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. It was wonderful to be with them and to celebrate the Eucharist with them.
Rededicating a chapel
On Wednesday, we rededicated St. Therese Chapel, a chapel run by the Carmelites at the North Shore Mall in Peabody.
They were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the chapel that the Carmelite friars have been staffing for 50 years since Cardinal Cushing initiated it at that mall. I understand the Carmelites are one of only two remaining original tenants of the mall.
The place was packed with people. They do an extraordinary ministry there with the Eucharist, confession, adoration, and prayer groups. Also, they have a Catholic gift shop there. It really is a very important presence at the mall.
Masses are offered there three times per day, with confessions 30 minutes before each Mass. Saturday vigil Masses are offered at 4:00 and 5:30.