Revealing the priestly heart of Jesus

Cardinal Seán often is photographed celebrating Mass; he is usually pictured while preaching in the pulpit or standing at the altar, the Eucharist elevated at the moment of consecration. His five years in Boston have shown him to be a man who reveals the priestly heart of Jesus, for he knows himself to be loved by the Word on his lips and held in his hands.

As Director of the Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation, I have seen up close the cardinal’s care and concern for a most important portion of his flock, the priests and deacons of the archdiocese. On the occasion of his fifth anniversary as archbishop, Cardinal Seán thanked especially the priests, those who have known the weight of recent painful years: “Your ministry has been a source of enormous strength and inspiration... As priests,” he wrote, “prayer, the celebration of the sacraments and fraternity must be the touchstones of our life; from these we derive our strength.” These are the themes that he returns to over and over again, for they flow from his own deeply held understanding and convictions about what it is to be a priest.

How has Cardinal Seán O’Malley shown his support for Boston’s clergy? When he arrived here, he found an archdiocese on its knees, begging for both mercy and hope. No doubt, it took the fabled, though weary, presbyterate of Boston and its new shepherd a little time to come to know one another, yet from the beginning, signals of the archbishop’s own vision began to emerge. His identity as a Franciscan, as a diocesan bishop, and as a son of Ireland is key to his style; it is an approach that is faith-filled, obedient, humble and determined, served up with a twinkle in the eye.

The size of the archdiocese called for new approaches. All vicars were encouraged more and more to be effective and “on the ground” sources of contact and outreach in his name. A significant development also involved the creation of the Clergy Services Group. In a step unmatched by any other diocese in the United States, and perhaps in the world, Cardinal Seán assigned six priests and a deacon to both part-time and full-time work overseeing the care of clergy. This allows for far more comprehensive and effective service in the areas of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral needs.

We see his support in participation at convocations for deacons and priests, his presence at many ongoing formation workshops for clergy, attendance at presbyteral and diaconal council meetings, and any number of below-the-radar personal meetings and conversations with those in need of his attention or counsel. Cardinal Seán also has a particular care for recently ordained priests. At least five times a year he meets with them for eucharistic adoration, a meal and extended conversation. He is also tireless in his support of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.

Cardinal Seán has clearly identified the Chrism and Ordination Masses as major opportunities to teach and form his clergy. His reflections over five years on the ministry of preaching, spiritual fatherhood, ongoing formation, prayer, obedience, devotion to the Blessed Mother and the saints, service and chaste celibacy could easily be assembled as a tract on ordained ministry. It is no wonder that he is sought as a preacher throughout the world.

When Archbishop O’Malley received his Cardinal’s biretta and ring from Pope Benedict XVI, one couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words to Peter: “And you, in turn, must strengthen your brothers.” It is no coincidence that both these priests share a common theme in their preaching and personal lives: friendship with Jesus. In fact, this points to the most significant way Cardinal Seán supports his clergy--his own faithfulness to Christ and the Church and the example he gives of striving after holiness.

In his aforementioned letter to priests, the cardinal concludes: “Together let us go forward in the name of the Lord.” This aptly summarizes his care and relationship with the clergy. He leads with missionary zeal and points to Christ, all undertaken in a spirit of contemplation and communion. It is a blessing and privilege for all of us to be led by so faithful a father who brings new insight into the title “Eminence.”

Father William Kelly is director of the Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation of the Archdiocese of Boston

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
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Nation
Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Nation
Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Local
Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

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 ...

World
Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

World
Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

Nation
'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Local
Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Local
Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

Local
CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Local
Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Nation
Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Nation
Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...