Wednesday, I was visited by Father Paul Hurley, the chief of chaplains for the United States Army, who is home visiting and came to say hello.
Recently, he was the commencement speaker for St. Sebastian's School in Needham, where his two twin nephews were graduating. They are the sons of Kevin Kiley who worked for the archdiocese for many years and is now the chancellor of the Fall River Diocese. The boys are going to have appointments to West Point where, at one point, Father Paul is an alumnus and was the chaplain.
I had already heard about Father Paul's very dramatic commencement address, which he began by apologizing for having been too busy to prepare the speech, and then sat down. Then, when everyone was just in shock and horror, he got up and gave a talk (which, of course, was prepared) on how important it is to be prepared for life and how our Catholic identity is an important part of that preparation for life.
We are very proud of the great service that Father Paul has given, and the service that so many Boston priests have provided as chaplains of the Armed Forces. I only wish that more bishops would send men to serve with the Military Archdiocese, as there is always a great need for Catholic priests to serve as military chaplains. Their period of service in the military is such an important time in the lives of young people, and we want them to feel close to the Church and the ministry of our priests.
Daughters of Charity
Thursday morning, I was visited by Sister Catherine Mary Norris, DC, and Sister Nancy Murphy, DC, of the provincial leadership of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, along with Sister Barbara Curran, DC, who is the aunt of Father Jim DiPerri and a member of the Daughter's community in Holbrook.
We have four Daughters of Charity working in the archdiocese but, because of the restructuring of their province, they are being recalled. The Daughters have worked in the Archdiocese of Boston for more than a century. They, of course, founded Laboure College, Carney Hospital, and many other wonderful works, and have also been involved in education, healthcare and social services in the archdiocese. We are very sorry to see them leave and hope that perhaps someday they will be able to open a new mission in our archdiocese. That, however, does not gainsay the great sense of gratitude we have for their many accomplishments and for the witness of their lives and ministry among us.
Then Thursday afternoon, I went to St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Church in Hanover to preside over the Rite of the Reception of the Body of Weymouth police officer Sgt. Michael Chesna, who was brutally murdered in the line of duty. Sgt. Chesna has two small children, one of whom recently made her First Communion at St. Mary's.
We are very grateful for the wonderful ministry that Father Chris Hickey has provided to Officer Chesna's family, friends and fellow officers during this exceptionally difficult time.
There are also three seminarians at the parish from St. John's Seminary. I think it is very valuable for them to have had the opportunity to participate in this type of event and have an understanding of the importance of this ministry in the midst of tragedy.
The service, of course, brought together hundreds, if not thousands, of law enforcement officers from around the area and beyond.
We pledge our prayers and ask for the prayers of the community for his wife Cindy, his children and the whole family during this very difficult moment in their lives.
Here in Boston, we have a sister diocese, the Eparchy of Newton for Melkite Catholics. This past weekend, we were blessed to have Patriarch Youssef Absi, who was named patriarch just over a year ago, in the area as part of his visits to various Melkite communities in the Diaspora. He was here to have a Eucharist and celebration at the Melkite Cathedral in Newton. We were very happy to be able to greet him and to say how pleased we were that he was visiting. The Eastern Christians face great challenges in the Middle East because of persecution there. So, we want the patriarch, along with all the Christians in Lebanon and the Middle East, to feel our solidarity and prayerful support.