From Cardinal Seán’s blog

“We all come from so many different backgrounds and so many different cultures, and still we all turn to Mary as our mother in the faith. We ask her to help us to lead our lives of discipleship with a renewed spirit of generosity and fidelity.” Pilot photo/Courtesy Fatima Shrine

Hearing the news of the earthquake in Peru on Aug. 15, our thoughts and prayers turn to the people of that nation. So many of the priests from the Archdiocese of Boston are working there through the St. James Society. I have heard from Msgr. Finbarr O’Leary, the director of the society, that no Boston priests are located in the area hardest hit by the earthquake. I am requesting all pastors in the archdiocese to have a second collection at all Masses on the weekend of Aug. 26 for the victims of the earthquake. Boston has a long-standing tradition of great generosity with the victims of natural disasters, and Peru is very close to our hearts through the works of so many Boston priests who through the years have ministered there serving the poorest among the poor in Peru.

Greeting Dr. Haas

John M. Haas, a bioethicist and president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Pennsylvania, was in town last week and came to see me.

Their center has been a very important think tank for the Catholic Church in the United States and a great source of education about the Church’s teachings on morality and medical ethics.

For many years they organized an annual seminar with different themes. They would invite the bishops to come together with their theologians and ethicists to study different themes of the Church’s teaching on medical ethics, which in today’s world is becoming more and more complicated.

In addition, they provide courses for St. John’s Seminary, and John Haas was in town because they were having a seminar at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Brighton for our Catholic doctors, nurses and health professionals. It has been very important for us to promote the Catholic identity of our hospitals by having these kinds of seminars.

The bioethics center’s headquarters are in Philadelphia, and they provide a great service to the Church in the United States. They send us a monthly publication, Ethics and Medics, which we pass on to the priests. It is important for our priests to be informed of the current concerns in the area of medical ethics.

Also at the center is a priest from the Diocese of Fall River, Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, whom I ordained when I was bishop there. We are very proud of him and very grateful that Bishop George Coleman has allowed him to dedicate himself full-time to this ministry.

When we filmed a CatholicTV program about stem-cell research in March 2005, it was with the help of Father Tad. The program was called “Cutting Through the Spin on Stem-Cells and Cloning.”

Father Tad is also a regular contributor to our archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, and his opinion pieces, which eloquently explain very complicated issues, can be read on The Pilot’s Web site.

Visiting Fatima Shrine

This week I am in Portugal visiting Fatima at the request of the Portuguese bishops’ conference. The conference commonly invites bishops from other parts of the world to preside at a Fatima celebration, and this time I was invited. From May to October, special pilgrimages take place in Fatima on the 12th and 13th of the each month. They commemorate the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima.

The celebration in August is always dedicated to immigrants and refugees. August is traditionally the month in Europe when people take their vacations, and many people travel back to their home country. At least a third of the Portuguese people are immigrants to other countries, so this is a time when they return home to visit their families. While home, many of them go to visit Fatima...

... It was very touching to see so many people crossing the plaza on their knees or praying in front of the place of the apparitions. Although the vast majority were Portuguese, there were thousands of pilgrims from Germany, France, Africa, Vietnam, the Philippines, England, Ireland and the United States. It really does represent the catholicity of the Church. We all come from so many different backgrounds and so many different cultures, and still we all turn to Mary as our mother in the faith. We ask her to help us to lead our lives of discipleship with a renewed spirit of generosity and fidelity.

It was interesting to see that in Portugal this event was televised on two national television stations and covered extensively on the broadcast news and in the country’s newspapers. It just shows how important, how central, the phenomenon of Fatima is, even in the popular culture of Portugal.

In Europe at a time when participation in the Sunday Mass has fallen off considerably, the life of the shrines has taken on even greater importance. All of the shrines in Europe attract thousands of people, and it is an opportunity to reach families and to evangelize. Certainly, witnessing the great devotion of the people to Our Lady of Fatima is a very moving experience.

Also in this week’s blog:

> Meeting with a regional director for the Bishop Conference’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)

> Cardinal’s homily in Fatima

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 ...