Priests celebrate unity at Chrism Mass

Over 200 priests attended this year's Chrism Mass. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

SOUTH END -- Priests of the Archdiocese of Boston joined Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the annual Chrism Mass, March 31, and gathered afterward at Cathedral High School to honor three of their own.

The Chrism Mass serves as a symbol of unity in dioceses throughout the Catholic world as, during Holy Week each year, the local bishop blesses the sacred oils used to administer sacraments for the coming year -- the oil of catechumens, the oil of the infirm and the sacred chrism.

During the Mass, seminarians carried urns with each of the sacred oils to the altar before Cardinal O'Malley blessed them for distribution to the presbyterate -- many of which attended the Mass and renewed their priestly vows before the assembled faithful at the celebration.

In keeping with a tradition of recent years and the theme of unity, the leader of the Boston Greek Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Methodios spoke to the priests and the cardinal as the Mass began. He looked forward to a day of unity between Orthodox and Catholics.

"Cardinal Seán, may God continue inspiring your ministry in this Church and your great contribution to world Catholicism, as you are at the hand of Pope Francis these days. God bless your journeys to Rome, and may our Lord continue inspiring your priests and their archbishop," the metropolitan said.

In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley welcomed priests to what he called the "annual oil change" of the archdiocese.

As he focused his message on locations mentioned in the Gospel, Cardinal O'Malley held up Nazareth as a place of formation crucial to the work a priest and Capernaum as the place where a priest undertakes his ministry.

"In Jesus' life, these two venues are so important to his identity and ministry: Nazareth and Capernaum. After Jerusalem, they are the cities most mentioned in the Gospels," he said.

He spoke about the days Christ spent in ministry at the house of Peter in Capernaum, in the context of a vision of the Church under the current pope.

"I like to think of Peter's house at Capernaum as the field hospital Pope Francis speaks of. The Gospels tell us that the people brought the sick and suffering from miles around to the door of Peter's house," Cardinal O'Malley said.

He stressed that the life of a priest, who may not always see the results of his work in the community he serves, requires patience and can even include heartbreak.

"Our expectations, our hope for success, needs to be tempered by the conviction that one man sows and another one reaps. We cannot always have the consolation of the fruits of our labor. Our Capernaum can be tough. As I always say, being a Catholic in Boston is a contact sport. There can be a lot of heartbreak in Capernaum," the cardinal said.

The cardinal said three decades of life in Nazareth became an important preface for the public ministry of Jesus Christ.

"Nazareth is the place of Jesus' hidden life, an ordinary life, a place of family life, of prayer, of work, silent virtues, hospitality, friendship, routine, a banal repetition of simple chores and tedious tasks, it is also a place of community sharing both sorrows and joys," he said.

The cardinal said the priest must contemplate such a place in their internal lives.

"Nazareth is where our intimacy with the Lord allows us to embrace a simple lifestyle, celibacy, persevere in ministry, and confront failure. Nazareth is that oasis of prayer and spirituality without which it is impossible to cross the desert," he said.

The cardinal also spoke about his vision of the ongoing mission of the archdiocese.

"Our pastoral plan must underscore the importance of building communities that are indeed Christ's family. A priest must be a builder of unity in the family of the parish, connecting our people with God and with each other," Cardinal O'Malley said.

He raised the issue of encouraging vocations as a necessary and important aspect of pastoral ministry.

"It is the way we attend not only to the present pastoral needs of our people, but also the future needs of the community of faith," he said.

He said the place of prayer and contemplation must be continuously revisited and available in the life of a priest, even as he ages or retires.

"Nazareth and Capernaum need to be constants in the life of a priest. As we are living longer, we have another opportunity to spend more time in Nazareth, more time in adoration and prayer, so that like Aaron and Hur we can help hold up Moses' arms. Our prayer allows us to continue to contribute to the faith life of our Church," the cardinal said.

He reflected again on messages of the Holy Father to identify a virtue he said both places encompass.

"To me, Pope Francis' call to embrace the culture of encounter and the art of accompaniment is reflected in the virtue, common to the Nazareth and the Capernaum, that of hospitality," he said.

He said a priest must show that hospitality in his pastoral service.

"The hospitality of Nazareth, welcoming Christ, letting the word become flesh in our hearts is what prepares us for the hospitality of Capernaum, of the field hospital."

He again touched on the virtue of unity represented in the oils the priests received after the Mass.

"Today's celebration is to remind us that we are not alone, that our priesthood unites us to Christ and to one another in a profound and permanent relationship," the cardinal said.

After the Mass, priests, bishops, deacons, and guests gathered in the gym of Cathedral High School to honor three priests.

At the luncheon, Cardinal O'Malley presented a gift of recognition to Father William F. Murphy, director of spiritual formation at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary; Father Joseph K. Raeke, pastor of three parishes in Brockton; and Father George E. Morin, pastor of Holy Redeemer in West Newbury.

"The only honest way to accept any kind of recognition is to frame it in the fact that I am one priest among many priests. Each of us shares in this ministry as we hope, on a good day, some facet of the love of the Lord be extended into this world," Father Murphy said, as he received a gift of recognition.

As Father Raeke received the honor, he recalled celebrating a recent Mass for prisoners and praying for a crying child in an ambulance on her way to the hospital. His prayer quelled her tears.

"In each of those instances, I came to realize that being a priest is being blessed, being greatly privileged, to say the words of Jesus Christ and to offer those to people. So, I can't imagine a better life. We all who have been called to the priesthood are abundantly blessed and greatly privileged to be able to serve the Lord," Father Raeke said.

World
Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old Romanian as 'martyr to chastity'

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A 22-year-old Romanian peasant has taken a step closer to sainthood as a "martyr to chastity," six decades after she was murdered ...

Nation
Maryland attorney general will review church records on child sex abuse

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a Sept. 24 letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the ...

Nation
People helping people is what attracted actor to 'God Friended Me'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Television audiences may recall seeing actor Joe Morton as Eli Rowan Pope, the father of professional Washington fixer Olivia Pope, ...

Nation
Pa. bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The bishops of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors ...

Nation
CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

World
The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

World
Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to ...

World
Update: Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Nation
Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Nation
Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Nation
Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

World
Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Nation
Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

World
Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

World
God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

World
Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

World
Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Nation
Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

Nation
N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Nation
Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Nation
Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Nation
Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

Nation
#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Nation
Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Nation
Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

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 ...