This Saturday (3/10), I was invited to give the keynote address at the regional Encuentro (Spanish for "Encounter") held at Our Lady of La Salette Shrine in Attleboro. Those gathered here were delegates from the dioceses of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. There will be a second regional Encuentro for the dioceses of Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts on May 12. We are so grateful to all those who have devoted their time and efforts to this most important endeavor.
That afternoon (3/10), I went to St. Cecilia Church in Boston for the Pueri Cantores Boston Choral Festival and Mass. At the festival, Pueri Cantores, which is the student choral organization of the Catholic Church, brings together school and parish youth choirs for a day of performances.
It was very encouraging to see so many young Catholics involved in sacred music, which is so important for our Church. It's wonderful to see that these young people are becoming involved in music ministry at this young age and I know they will certainly be leaders in their parishes in the future.
Catholic Appeal Masses
Sunday (3/11), I celebrated Masses for our Catholic Appeal Commitment Weekend at two parishes in Lawrence -- St. Patrick's in English and then St. Mary of the Assumption in Spanish. On Appeal Commitment Weekend each year we encourage our parishioners to pledge their support to this effort, which is truly the lifeblood of the archdiocese.
In the morning, I celebrated Mass at St. Patrick's. At St. Patrick's, Father Paul O'Brien gave a very moving talk to his parishioners, encouraging them to participate in the Appeal and to make sacrifices in their giving. He called their attention to the fact that these funds are involved in training people for ministry, providing chaplains in our prisons and hospitals, and so many services that are vital for the spiritual life of our Catholic people.
In the afternoon, I celebrated with the parish community at St. Mary's. We are so grateful to all those who give to the Appeal for their support of our works of mercy and evangelization in the archdiocese.
Meeting with new leadership team
Sunday (3/11), I went to the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton to meet with the congregation's new leadership team, who were elected the day before. Among the newly elected leaders is our own Delegate for Religious, Sister Marian Batho. Of course, we are very happy for her but, at the same time, we are sorry that this will curtail some of her activities at the archdiocesan level.
We assure Sister Lee Hogan and the other sisters of the Leadership Team of our prayers and best wishes as they begin their new responsibilities of guiding the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.
Lunch with the St. Joseph Society
That afternoon (3/12), I had a lunch with members of the St. Joseph Society of the North End. We were also joined by Father Antonio Nardoianni of St. Leonard's Parish and our Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto.
We had a wonderful gathering together, and I was very pleased to hear about their work in support of the good works of the Church and the ministries of the archdiocese. It was also an opportunity particularly to thank them for all their outstanding support providing for the renovations of St. Leonard's Church.
Dialogue with college students
That evening (3/14), I went to Merrimack College for a time of dialogue with members of the college's Austin Scholars program. This is a group of extraordinary young people who commit themselves to some additional studies on the faith and to working at area community service projects each week. It was very edifying to see how this program has given our young people a sense of mission and a greater understanding of their faith and the social gospel.