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'On Sunday (10/27) I was at Gate of Heaven Parish in South Boston for the Mass to celebrate their 150th anniversary.' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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(On Oct. 24), I attended the Adopt-A-Student Foundation Dinner of Cathedral High School.

Cathedral High School serves mostly low-income minority and immigrant teens, and is able to carry on its very important mission because of the wonderful Board of Trustees and the many alumni who are so generous in their support of the school, improving facilities and providing the young men and women with scholarships. This annual dinner is a very important part of that fundraising effort.

The beautiful thing is that, to a great extent, the support of the school comes from people who were the children of working-class families who attended the school a generation ago, gone on to be very successful, and are now sharing their blessings with this generation of students.

A student and a former student always speak at the dinner, and it is an extremely moving experience to see these young people and understand the impact Cathedral High School has had on their lives. In a demographic where many do not even finish high school, students at Cathedral High not only finish high school but nearly all of them attend college and go on to lead very fulfilling and productive lives.

Dracut-Lowell confirmations

Saturday (10/26), I traveled to Ste. Marguerite d'Youville parish in Dracut to celebrate Confirmations. Father Marc Bishop is the pastor there and is doing great job.

I am always very happy for the opportunity to be with young people at this very crucial moment in their lives, when they are receiving the sacrament and rededicating themselves to the vocation of faithful discipleship in the Catholic Church.

After the Confirmation we went with the staff and had lunch at St. Rita's in Lowell.

Gate of Heaven 150th anniversary

On Sunday (10/27) I was at Gate of Heaven Parish in South Boston for the Mass to celebrate their 150th anniversary.

The parish was established during the Civil War, many Irish had come to the area in the previous decades following the great Potato Famine in Ireland. It was, in many ways, sort of an apocalyptic time and it was in that time of turmoil that the hopeful sign of this new church came.

I preached from the pulpit, which I understand doesn't normally get much use. (They prefer to preach from the ambo.) But I told the people that there was a great view from up there and I was happy to be using the magnificent pulpit that the church has!

There were a number of Sisters of St. Joseph there, for 100 years they worked in the parish. We were also joined by many priests, those who had been stationed at the parish or were from the parish themselves. Of course, that parish has produced many vocations for the priesthood and religious life. It was a very happy celebration.

After the Mass, Ambassador Ray Flynn, who is a native of the parish, gave a short reflection on his experience growing up in the parish and what it meant for him personally. He also pointed out a number of longtime parishioners from the parish.

Of course, we are all very grateful to the priests who have served there, including the present pastor Father Bob Casey, who has done so much for the parish.

Methuen confirmations

That afternoon, I visited St. Monica parish in Methuen to celebrate Confirmation with them. About 70 young people confirmed.

The pastor, Msgr. William Fay, has only recently arrived in the parish to head one of the new collaboratives in the archdiocese and, so at the end of Mass, I formally installed him as pastor.

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