Last September Pope Benedict made a pastoral visit to England and there was a great concern about how the Holy Father would be received. All of us were overjoyed to see the outpouring of faith and devotion of the Scottish and British Catholics. The centerpiece of his visit, of course, was the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who is such an important figure in the history of the Church.
...We were very honored that our own deacon, Deacon Jack Sullivan, read the Gospel at the Mass and his wife, Carol, presented the Holy Father with the offertory gifts. Jack, as you might know, experienced the miracle that allowed the beatification process to go forward. He suffered from a debilitating back condition but through prayers and the intercession of Cardinal Newman, he was cured.
Last Thursday, Jack and Carol visited me and we had a wonderful conversation about the beatification and his ministry.
Visit to Jeanne Jugan Residence
March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church, is a grand event in the calendar of the Church because we celebrate and honor the man who was entrusted with the care of the Blessed Virgin and the Christ Child. ... Among the communities who have a particular devotion to St. Joseph are the Little Sisters of the Poor, who depend on providence for the maintenance of the ministries to the elderly and the poor. I was delighted to be able to celebrate Mass at their Jeanne Jugan Residence in Somerville on their feast day and have lunch with the sisters.
It was very encouraging to hear the sisters have nine novices this year. A number of those young women came out of the FOCUS groups that are now working in the archdiocese. I think that is one more indication of how the New Evangelization reaps many benefits in the life of the Church. The Church's ministry to the elderly and the infirm is a great witness to the Gospel of Life and the importance of human life in all its phases, even when it is most vulnerable.
This is such an important ministry in today's world where many would promote euthanasia as a solution to the challenges for old age and infirmity. In the Church, however, we show loving attention to our elderly as a sign of our own interdependence. When we are healthy and well, we take care of others; and when we are children and old, other people take care of us. This is what our life is about, communion within the Church.
Blessing at St. Raphael's
On Sunday I was pleased to be able to bless the new parish center at St. Raphael's Parish in Medford. St. Raphael's is a very involved parish. Fathers Kevin Toomey and Bob Cullen, with the help of their deacon and lay leadership, are doing a terrific job. The school is also flourishing.
A few years ago the church burned down and the people there built a beautiful new one. Their latest accomplishment in the parish has been this extraordinary and stunning parish center that has all kinds of room for the youth, the elderly and for meetings, and even a beautiful patio in front of it. It was really a very uplifting experience to be at St. Raphael's. It was a delight to be able to dedicate the new hall.