Prayer service recalls Armenian Genocide

Clergy and representatives of numerous area faith groups are seated around the altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross as Cardinal O'Malley delivers his homily. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

SOUTH END -- The haunting drone of Armenia's national instrument, the duduk, echoed through the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, marking the beginning of the Archdiocese of Boston's first ever commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, April 23.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley presided at the ecumenical service, alongside Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan from the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, vicar general Msgr. Andon Atamian of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of the United States and Canada, and the Reverend Avedis Boynerian, of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.

Also at the service were representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, the Anglican Diocese in New England, the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Emanuel Gospel Center, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Focolare Movement, the Islamic Center of Boston, the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and the Syrian Orthodox Church.

In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley spoke on God's unfaltering love for his people, and how we must never forget that love, "especially in moments of darkness and pain."

"It is that faith, that memory, that conviction, that allows us to recall the genocide of a century ago, and to know that the love and power of God is stronger than death. Christ's cross has conquered sin and death for us," the cardinal said.

"By the same token, it is important that we do not allow the events of the genocide to slip into oblivion. We must raise the alarm, we must keep the memory alive, so that the future will be safer," he continued.

He noted that by remembering instances of mass slaughter, such as the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, we can help to "prevent more genocide in the future."

"We must never allow the world to vilify people because of their race, their religion, their nationality, their language, their politics. The world needs the voice of a sentinel, crying out the warnings of danger that lurk when people nurture the darkness of hatred and prejudice in their hearts," he said.

The cardinal drew to mind the murder of Christians around the world by the Islamic State, and invoked the words of Pope Francis.

"Pope Francis in an interview that he gave over a year ago used the term 'ecumenism of blood.' The Holy Father commented on how in some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or for having a bible. They do not ask whether they are Catholics or Anglicans or Lutherans or Orthodox -- they are killed because they are Christians," he said.

"Pope Francis said 'We are united in blood even though we have not yet managed to take the necessary steps toward unity among us, and perhaps the time has not yet come. Unity is a gift we need to task for,'" he continued.

"Hopefully the example and the witness of the faith of these martyrs will help us to grow closer to one another and be more faithful to our vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ," the cardinal said.

Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan offered an address, in which he congratulated Pope Francis for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide on the 100th anniversary of the event last year.

"His Holiness, Pope Francis, has stood firmly on the side of the truth and morality. When he acknowledged the first genocide of the 20th century, his declaration prompted similar acknowledgments from many more organizations and countries, beginning with the European parliament," he said.

"Today's event, hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Seán O'Malley at the Archdiocese of Boston, is a continuation of that Christian solidarity. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity," he continued.

In his own address, Archbishop Barsamian also noted Pope Francis' acknowledgment, and thanked Cardinal O'Malley for hosting the prayer service.

"Today, thanks to the generous spirit of His Eminence Cardinal O'Malley, we are again honoring the memory of those who perished 101 years ago, and it is fitting that we should do so beneath the cross of Christ, for the cross illuminates the meaning of the genocide," the archbishop said.

"It is the reminder of our Lord's passion, in which Armenian Christian shared a century ago, in which other people would later share, and in which, people are sharing down to our own days. But, the cross is also a symbol of victory over suffering, the victory promised by god to his faithful servant," he continued.

A number of the hymns and prayers were said in Armenian during the service, including the Hymn for the Holy Martyrs' of 1915, which called on the martyrs of the genocide to beseech God to keep Armenia in peace.

Following the service, a reception was held in the Cathedral High School Gymnasium, where there was an exchange of gifts between the Armenian and Catholic bishops.

Robert Trestan, the director of the New England Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, was an attendee at the prayer service. He spoke to The Pilot on the importance of remembering genocide.

"Unless you honor the people who were lost and continually remember and acknowledge the genocide, you run the risk of it happening it again," he said.

"And so, it's critical that people regularly come together and learn what happened," he continued.

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, an Armenian Catholic, was also present, and noted the importance of the service.

"This is just a continuation of a great moment that we had with the pope remembering the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, and acknowledging and recognizing the Armenian genocide. This is a powerful moment for our community," he said.

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 ...