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Archdiocese celebrates feast of patron saint


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SOUTH END — Several hundred of the faithful joined Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley March 17 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in a Mass to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of both Ireland and the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Mass was attended by the consul general of Ireland, Isolde Moylan, and the consul general of Great Britain, John Rankin.

The homilist for the Mass was Father Paul B. O’Brien, pastor of St. Patrick in Lawrence. He described the calls St. Peter received to follow Jesus and St. Patrick received to return to Ireland, the country from which he fled to escape from slavery, as moments of grace in salvation history. He said God’s call to both saints contained a component of fear that was overcome by the mercy of God.

Father O’Brien then spoke of what he called another moment of grace, the celebration of the Jubilee Year 2000 in the Archdiocese of Boston. According to Father O’Brien, Jesus visited the archdiocese, He knew all our good works, but He also knew our sins.

“I believe He knew how much we compromised our faith … I believe He knew and accepted the sexual abuse of children as our sin,” he said.

He said that Christ wanted to bestow on the archdiocese the fullness of the mercy of God.

“The events that unfolded in the last five years start to make sense as good or start to make sense as no good in the light of that mercy,” he concluded.

At the end of the Mass, Archbishop O’Malley, asked the consuls to convey the message to their peoples that Boston Catholics feel very deeply all the developments in Ireland. “Through the intercession of St. Patrick and Our Lady of Knock, Ireland will achieve not only peace and reconciliation but also solidarity among all the people,” he said.

Following a Boston tradition, shamrocks were blessed during Mass and distributed to attendees following its conclusion.

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