The St. Johnís retreat (for prospective seminarians) was not held in the seminary as it has been in past years because enrollment is so high, there was not enough room for them. Throughout the weekend the seminarians from St. Johnís went to Dover to attend the different activities and to be helpful to the young men. Though it would have been nice to have the men at the seminary, I have to say it was a great problem to have! Pilot photo/George Martell, The Catholic Foundation
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Recently, I heard from many enthusiastic Boston College students that crucifixes and religious pictures have appeared in the classrooms over the semester break. BC has had crucifixes in some of their classrooms, and they just completed the task of adding crucifixes to the remaining classrooms. They were very happy to report on this development.
Though the story was first covered by a student newspaper, The Observer, the general public became aware of it this week when The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald also covered it.
Sadly, some faculty members objected, claiming that Boston College was not being tolerant of them. Actually, I think the intolerance is on the part of those who do not want us to exhibit these symbols of our faith. The Catholic community should be encouraged by Father Leahyís leadership in this area, and I am so pleased that the students, who are the reason for the university, are so favorable to the presence of religious symbols.
Over this past weekend, Blessed John XXIII and St. Johnís Seminaries both held retreats for men considering a vocation to the priesthood.
Friday, I attended Blessed John XXIII seminary for their vocations retreat, where I held Mass and ate lunch with the 19 prospective seminarians who participated.
In the afternoon, I gave them a conference. There were many other activities planned for them including attending classes with the seminarians on Saturday morning. It was very hospitable of the faculty at Blessed John to house the retreatants in the seminary for the weekend.
From there, I went to The Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center in Dover to be with the other retreatants who are prospective seminarians for St. Johnís.
I spent the rest of the weekend, from Friday evening until Sunday, leading the retreat there. We had Holy Hours, Masses and talks together. The retreat concluded with a closing Mass and meal at St. Johnís on Sunday.
It was very encouraging that there were over 40 men participating in the retreat. I was impressed by their caliber. Many are presently undergraduate students or recent graduates of Boston College, Harvard, Boston University and other area colleges.
On Monday I met with Lisa Alberghini of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs. POUA, one of the justice ministries of the archdiocese, is beginning work to help people facing foreclosures who may be at risk of losing their homes.
In these very difficult economic times this risk is becoming all too real for many people. POUA will soon be sending notices to parishes throughout the archdiocese providing information for parish bulletins on where people can call or go for help. They are also exploring holding meetings in regions hard hit by foreclosures, at which people could get more detailed information and more personalized help.