On Monday (April 27), I participated at a Cursillo Mass. For a long time I have wanted to have a Mass with the cursillistas, and I thought that it would be good to do it during the bicentennial year. Then, when Eduardo Bonnin Aguilo, who led the first Cursillo in 1944, died on Ash Wednesday this year, I asked the leadership of the cusillistas to organize this Mass.
We decided to have it at Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden, a large church which held the 800 people who participated. There were English, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese speakers there. Bishop John Elya, concelebrated with me as well as a number of priests, including Father Martin Hyatt, who is very active at the Salvatorian Center in Methuen.
The Mass was both a memorial for Eduardo Bonnin and a way for us to bring cursillistas together during the archdiocese’s 200th anniversary year. Since 1944, over 40 million people have made their Cursillo throughout the world. It is now in 1,500 dioceses, and I believe it is one of the most effective formation programs that we have had for leaders in the Church.
The Cursillo, that very intense weekend, presents the Church’s faith -- the sacraments, the life of grace, the apostolate, the Church and Christology -- so that people see all at once how everything fits together. For many people, it sparks a very deep conversion. If you go to any diocese in the country, many of the permanent deacons today began their journey with the Cursillo. When you go to visit the prisons throughout the archdiocese and see all these people working in prison ministry, they are almost invariably cursillistas. In many parts of the country the Hispanic cursillistas have been the backbone of the Hispanic apostolate. And with the scarcity of priests, they have given valuable leadership that has helped to keep people Catholic.
When I made the Cursillo in 1967, I was a capuchin brother, a seminarian in Washington, D.C. I was very active in the Spanish and Portuguese Cursillo movements for years. My beard was a bit more red in those days!
Graduation at the Instituto de Formacion de Laicos
On Tuesday (April 28) we held our graduation for the Spanish-language lay formation program of the archdiocese, the Instituto de Formacion de Laicos which is headed by Pilar Latorre.
It was wonderful to see there were a number of husbands and wives in the program -- and I believe there was even one mother-daughter set of graduates. Many of the priests from the different parishes where the graduates came from were present for the celebration and reception, which we had in the chapel at Bishop Peterson Hall in Brighton.
It is very important that we have this lay ministry training, and actually I am just establishing a committee to look at all of our programs to see how training lay people for the different tasks, ministries and apostolates in the archdiocese.
Msgr. Albacete talk at MIT
In the evening, I went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a wonderful talk by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete.
At MIT, they have an interreligious program and the Buddhist monk who organizes the program invited Msgr. Albacete to speak on “Faith, Reason and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Msgr. Albacete reflected on many of the themes that the Holy Father spoke about at the United Nations and in his interfaith meeting in Washington. He stressed that our dialogue is not just to reach friendship and promote tolerance but also to try to discover through reason, reflection and our experience what the common values are. Those values are important for the human family. The talk was very interesting and very well received.