Regina Cleri celebrates 50 years of serving priests

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley blesses the cornerstone of the Regina Cleri residence for retired priests June 5. Pilot photo/Christopher S. Pineo

WEST END -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley blessed the cornerstone of the Regina Cleri residence for retired priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, June 5, at a ceremony that brought Mayor Marty Walsh, local reporters, and a host of Catholic laypeople, religious and clergy together for a commemoration of the facility's 50th year in the West End.

Regina Cleri was constructed by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing after much of the West End was razed between 1950 and 1960 as a result of the Housing Act of 1949. The building became one of the construction achievements of the Church in Boston as part of the legacy of Cardinal Cushing. Cardinal Cushing dedicated the facility in December 1964, with an open house for pastors of the archdiocese.

"As Cardinal Cushing intended, Regina Cleri is a home for our senior priests -- a community of prayer, fellowship and fraternity," Cardinal O'Malley said.

"Over the past 50 years, almost 400 priests have been welcomed here, and today 56 priests representing 2,800 years of service to the archdiocese call this place their home," the cardinal said.

Cardinal O'Malley also noted that men who live at Regina Cleri may officially take up status as retired priests, but for many of them, service to the archdiocese, to the faithful, and to the community continue throughout their time at the home for retired priests.

"It's notable that many of the senior priests who live here continue to celebrate Mass in our parishes and provide our people with important pastoral and spiritual care," Cardinal O'Malley said.

The cardinal also stated plans for the facility in the near-term future.

"The Regina Cleri residence will hold an important place in the archdiocese for many years to come. As superior medical care provides us all the opportunity to extend our active lives, the archdiocese will have increasing needs, as more of our priests reach senior status," he said. "In the next 15 years, 170 of our brethren will achieve that mark."

The cardinal also pointed out the continued importance of the facility and its role in the archdiocese as a large portion of the population of ordained men require the services provided at Regina Cleri.

"Anticipating this need, I have asked the Clergy Funds and Regina Cleri leadership to explore the possibilities for expanding the capacity of services here, so that we can provide more priests with a welcoming and supportive community," he said.

Mayor Walsh also gave remarks of support for Regina Cleri and the archdiocese.

"I want to congratulate the cardinal and the archdiocese and the staff, right here, at Regina Cleri house. It's important, the 50th anniversary of this unique institution. Taking care of our seniors is an essential test, of every community, of spiritual health. We owe elders our gratitude of support. They have much to give, and it's especially true of our priests. We all know, the priests may slow down a bit, but they don't retire," said the mayor.

The mayor also spoke about the legacy of the priests who serve the community of Boston, which endures alongside their continued service -- even in retirement -- to places in the city like Mass General Hospital across the street from the facility.

"We need to find and seek their guidance. They spend years shepherding our communities, helping us achieve an understanding of the milestones of our lives, and your great wisdom is greatly needed. Indeed you are helping us achieve that directly. Many of the residents have served Boston's parishes, and are natives of the city themselves," the mayor said.

Scott Wahle, former WBZ-TV anchor, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. He said he will be working with Regina Cleri and the Clergy Fund to produce a series of video profiles of some of the senior priests of the archdiocese -- some of whom live at the facility. He showed the crowd a video segment on the facility itself.

"What a great thrill to interview them, for me, to help tell their stories, which in turn really tells the story of the Archdiocese of Boston," he told the crowd.

Two senior priests shared some of their experience at Regina Cleri, before a reception for guests who attended the blessing.

Father Mark S. Sheehan does not live at the facility, but has been in respite care for a heart condition since April.

"Atrial fibrillation, it means something is wrong with my heart, but my heart is filled with love today for all the wonderful people who have been kind to me since my arrival," Father Sheehan said.

He thanked the executive director of the facility, Stephen J. Gust, the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master who serve there, and the staff of the facility who have helped him with such things as driving to medical appointments at Lahey Hospital in Burlington.

He also thanked the residents.

"Special thanks to my brother priests for their kindness to me, for their advice, for their sense of humor, and above all for their patience," he said.

Father John J. Grimes has been recovering at Regina Cleri, also from a heart condition, and noted the personal touch of the staff and the residents on the day he arrived. He said he felt particularly welcomed and cared for by the director of nurses.

"She already had my medications. She had spoken to the doctors or the nursing staff at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, and the medications were already there. I mean, it was just amazing the sense of outreach, the sense that your were going to be cared for, and that evening some of the priests, my brothers, came knocking at the door," he said.

He knew many of the priests at Regina Cleri already, and they came to welcome him and express concern for him as a brother. He said the presence of his brothers, no matter how old or in what condition, inspired him to hope.

"If there is any tendency to get discouraged or to be a little bit feeling sorry for yourself, you look at them and you are animated," he added.

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...