Sunday (1/11), I traveled to Westwood to celebrate confirmations at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, where Father Peter Quinn is the pastor. There were about 80 young people receiving confirmation. It was a beautiful celebration. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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Each year during the Christmas season, I celebrate a Mass for survivors of sexual abuse and their families. It is an important moment to bring people together and hopefully help them in their healing. Because it was held Saturday evening, we celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We were so pleased that Deacon Paul Kline, who works closely with Vivian Soper in our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, invited the youth choir from St. Mary's in Foxborough to sing at the Mass. Their singing was just heavenly.
Boston clergy meeting
On Tuesday (1/13), I attended a meeting of clergy in the city of Boston, which included representatives from a number of the local African American congregations, other Protestant denominations and Catholic parishes. We met at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury to reflect on our ministries and how we can better collaborate for the good of our congregations and the wider community. We are so grateful to Rev. Arthur Gerald Jr. of the Twelfth Baptist Church; Rev. Jeffrey Brown, the leader of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace); and Father Jim Flavin, our Episcopal Vicar for the Central Region, for all they did in organizing and facilitating the meeting and discussion. During our conversation it was noted that the Boston Police Department, with its diverse and well experienced leadership, is consistently supportive of community outreach initiatives. We are all grateful to Mayor Walsh, Commissioner Evans and Superintendent Gross for their support of the faith communities in Boston and their being present and available whenever asked to assist us. We also noted that the clergy have a special role to play in the work of healing, reconciliation and advancement in the city, and can be very effective at these efforts because of the relationships we are able to establish based in faith. We all agreed that we will continue these conversations, sharing resources and experiences and challenging one another to be witnesses of our Lord's presence to the people we serve.
That afternoon, I was visited by Bishop Pierre Jubinville of the Diocese of San Pedro in Paraguay. Wednesday (1/14), we had one of our periodic meetings with the 30 or so priests who have been ordained for five years or fewer. Bishop Jubinville joined us for our gathering here at the Pastoral Center. We had a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament and Vespers, followed by a discussion. This month we focused particularly on the Church Unity Octave and pro-life themes. We concluded our evening with dinner together.
In the evening, we had a meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Among the items at the meeting was a presentation by our chancellor, John Straub in which he presented the process for creating a Strategic Plan for the Archdiocese. In preparation for the development of the process, John has interviewed many pastors, leaders of archdiocesan ministries and related organizations to determine what a strategic plan for the archdiocese should include. Evangelization is clearly the priority. A coherent plan that includes two or three very specific goals related to evangelization will be developed.
Lunch with a new deacon
Yesterday afternoon, I had lunch with one of our recently ordained transitional deacons, Deacon Andrea Filippucci, his mother Lucia, and his brother here at the Pastoral Center. Andrea's mother and brother came all the way from Italy to accompany him during his ordination, so I asked them to join me for lunch before their return. We had a very nice talk and I was very happy to hear that Andrea's other 10 siblings and the rest of the family were able to watch the ordination from Italy online at CatholicTV.com!