Cardinal celebrates Mass for victims of Boston attacks

Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán P. O'Mally shakes hands with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis after a Mass celebrated April 21 for the repose of the souls of those who died as a result of bombings at the Boston Marathon April 15. Pilot photo/Christopher S. Pineo

SOUTH END -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley celebrated Mass Sunday morning April 21 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the repose of the souls of those who died as a result of the bombings at the Boston Marathon and in the subsequent violence.

"Some people here were among those injured and those who witnessed the terrible events that unfolded at the finish line of the Marathon, but everyone was profoundly affected by the wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us," Cardinal O'Malley said in his homily.

Bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon April 15 near the finish line, wounding more than 260 and killing 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, Krystle Campbell, 29, a Medford native and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Chinese national who studied at Boston University.

A manhunt ensued after suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, allegedly killed Sean Collier, 26, an MIT police officer in Cambridge. After a gun battle in Watertown, where police said over 200 rounds were fired, a "shelter in place" warning halted activities in multiple metro Boston communities.

At the cathedral Mass remembering the victims, photos of Collier, Campbell, Richard and Lingzi stood off to the side of the altar with flowers and candles.

The cardinal pointed to the consolation of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and the Christian emphasis on valuing every human life, as a source of healing from pain and tragedy such as the violent events started at the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.

"Jesus said 'they will strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter;' that is what happened to His disciples after the Crucifixion, as they scattered in fear, doubt and panic," Cardinal O'Malley said.

"We too are scattered and need the assurance of the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for us, who comes to gather us in, scattered in our brokenness and pain," he said.

He made specific calls in his homily -- and speaking with the press after the Mass -- to avoid a call for vengeance.

"We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge. The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims and against immigrants," the cardinal said, in his homily.

"The Gospel is the antidote to the 'eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth' mentality. The parable of the Good Samaritan is the story about helping one's neighbor when that neighbor was from an enemy tribe, a foreign religion, a hostile group," he said.

"The individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death. Over a million abortions a year is one indication of how human life has been devalued. Violent entertainment, films and video games have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others. The inability of the Congress to enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture," the cardinal said.

He pointed out statements made by the suspects.

"One said he had no friends in this country, the other said his chief interests were money and his career. People need to be part of a community to lead a fully human life," Cardinal O'Malley said.

"As believers one of our tasks is to build community, to value people more than money or things, to recognize in each person a child of God, made in the image and likeness of our Creator," he said.

Cardinal O'Malley spoke about the importance of passing on the faith in a way that promotes love in good, moral and just lives for the faithful.

He referenced an observation by a holocaust survivor that doctors, nurses, scientists and soldiers participated in killing Jews in the Holocaust, showing that knowledge is not the only virtue, and how often in history science and technology served evil ends.

"We all know that evil has its fascination and attraction, but too often we lose sight of the fact that love and goodness also have the power to attract and that virtue is winsome," he said.

He said the effort to bring people back to faith must continue with a focus on countering evil by building goodness in society.

"I hope that the events of this past week have taught us how high the stakes are. We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all," he said.

After the Mass Cardinal O'Malley told reporters he did not support the death penalty for the 19-year-old suspect.

"Forgiveness does not mean that we do not realize the heinousness of the crime. But in our own hearts when we are unable to forgive we make ourselves a victim of our own hatred. Forgiveness is part of our obligation as disciples of the Lord, who taught us that we must forgive the way that he forgave even from the Cross. Going forward, we don't know what his punishment will be, but obviously as a Catholic I oppose the death penalty -- which I think is one further manifestation of the culture of death in our midst," he said.

After attending the Mass with his family, president of the Boston Firefighters Union Local 718 Richard Paris commended the work of first responders and citizens during the crisis as he spoke with a group of reporters.

"America stuck together that day, and especially the city of Boston stuck together that day, and it made us stronger," he said.

Luis Dinnella-Borregio, a first year seminarian at the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary who attends St. John's Seminary, also attended the Mass. He personally witnessed the impact terrorism has on a community when his New Jersey parish lost 12 of its own to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He called the homily by Cardinal O'Malley a necessity for the community of Boston and a message of truth.

"This is what the Church needs to be giving, the truth, which is that a culture of death surrounds us, whether it be abortion, whether it be acts of terrorism. Whatever these guys were thinking, it is a product of this many-sided culture of death. That message that the cardinal gave was absolutely necessary. It is what this city needed to hear," he said.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...