Local

From Cardinal Seán’s blog

by
3/7/2008

The Marriage Initiative “strives to educate Catholics concerning the truth of marriage as well as empower them to make a case for it to the wider community.” Pilot photo/Neil McCabe

The Massachusetts Marriage Initiative

I wanted to share with you news about the Massachusetts Marriage Initiative, which is sponsored by the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. Their new Web site is already up and we want to share that with everyone in our archdiocese and beyond. I encourage you to visit and to learn more about the initiative.

The theme of the initiative is “The Future Depends on Love,” and strives to educate Catholics concerning the truth of marriage as well as empower them to make a case for it to the wider community.

One of the crucial tasks of the Catholic Church is to help people have a sense of vocation in their lives: the vocation to holiness, to friendship to discipleship and to a particular calling in life. We realize that God is calling most people to the Sacrament of Marriage. Therefore, this initiative will also help our young people to have a greater understanding of the sacrament and to prepare them better to receive it in a world where fewer people seem to be getting married.

The Church in the United States has also embarked on various programs of education and catechesis around the theme of marriage. Currently, the bishops conference is focused on a marriage initiative for the entire country called “For Your Marriage,” and the bishops conference will be publishing a pastoral letter on marriage in the near future.

At the archdiocesan level, Kari Colella is working with a committee of people to improve our marriage preparation programs and to look at ways to offer our young people remote preparation so they have a greater understanding of this vocation of marriage.

So, in fact, we have three different marriage initiatives taking place simultaneously although they are working with each other. That shows, in some way, how important we think marriage is for society and the Church.

Permanent deacons’ convocation

On Saturday, I attended our annual permanent diaconate convocation with the deacons and their wives at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham. The parish is such a beautiful church and facility for this sort of gathering.

I celebrated Mass with them, had lunch and delivered a talk. We had a conversation, dialogue back and forth.

It was an opportunity for the deacons to ask questions. The keynote speaker for the convocation, Deacon Keith Fournier, is a lawyer and completing his doctorate in moral theology at Catholic University. I was very impressed by him.

We are very pleased that Deacon Patrick Guerrini is now in the Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation, working on the ongoing formation of the deacons as well as the personnel department for their assignments. It has been a big help having him on board.

The ongoing formation of our priests and deacons is critically important. Both Father Bill Kelly, the office’s director, and Deacon Guerrini are working with the deacons in this regard. As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, we are poised to begin having deacon classes every year to increase the numbers of men involved in this ministry which, going forward, is going to take on even greater importance.