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From Cardinal Seán's blog


Cardinal O'Malley during his visit to Puerto Rico, where the ordination of Father Gamalier Martinez, a Capuchin friar, took place. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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Last year, because so many Lenten activities were canceled, we prepared a one-week Virtual Lenten Retreat, and we are planning to do the same this year. It will be presented on Monday through Friday before Holy Week, and it will be presented on CatholicTV, as well as online. So, late last week, we began work on it at the cathedral with Bishop Bob Reed and the team from CatholicTV.

The Waters family

On Saturday, I went to visit the Waters family of Weymouth whose son, Quinn, is battling brain cancer. Quinn had recently done his First Communion, so I came to bring him Communion accompanied by Mother Olga of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.

We had a lovely visit with his family -- his parents Tara and Jarlath, his sister Maggie, and his grandmother. We prayed together, and then Quinn received his Communion.

I told Quinn's father that I have not met many Jarlaths, but that was almost the name given to me when I joined the Capuchins. I didn't know until last minute that, when you receive the habit, the superior would say, "From now on you will be Friar ..." and assign you a name. Your heart would skip a beat because you never knew what he was going to say. My fear was that they would give me some German name that my family would be very unhappy with. (Imagine if their son Patrick suddenly became Wolfgang, Lugwig, or something like that!) So, I asked the novice master to please give me an Irish name, and his ideas were Finbarr, Jarlath, or Seán. Obviously, we know what he decided on!

Mother Olga

As many may know, Mother Olga is originally from Iraq. So, while I was with her, we had a chance to speak a bit about how important and historic the Holy Father's visit to that country was.

I told her how fascinated I was to see that the Iraqis brought out bagpipes to meet the Holy Father. They must have known that St. Patrick's Day was approaching, too!

Visiting Puerto Rico

On Sunday, I traveled to Puerto Rico to celebrate the ordination of one of our Capuchin friars, Father Gamalier Martinez. It was a great joy to celebrate the ordination of another friar of our Custody of Puerto Rico, which is part of my province.

I originally thought I was going to have to undergo a quarantine and comply with different travel restrictions if I made the trip. But I was very pleased when, about two weeks ago, Gov. Baker announced there were three places in the United States that were considered "low risk" -- Hawaii, North Dakota, and Puerto Rico.

I arrived Sunday evening and stayed at the Church of San Francisco in Old San Juan, a church that our friars have maintained for over 400 years. A few blocks away is the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, where Ponce de Leon is buried.

On Monday afternoon, I was able to have lunch with Archbishop Roberto Gonzales who, of course, has many Boston connections and whom I've known since he was a seminarian. It was wonderful to see him again.

That evening was the ordination of Brother Gamalier at the Church of San Antonio de Padua in Rio Piedras, the parish where I was sent as a subdeacon many years ago. Because of capacity restrictions, there was a small group of people present with us in person, including his family, some of the friars and a number of the priests he had studied with, as well as our provincial, Father Tom Betz from Pittsburgh.

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