This week it was announced that Marie Collins has resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. This represents a great loss for our commission because Marie was a very eloquent advocate for child protection. However, I am very pleased that, despite her decision to step away from the commission, she is still very willing to work with us in the formation programs that the commission will be conducting for Church leadership, members of the Curia and bishops conferences.
Visit with Jesuit provincial
Last Friday (2/24), Father John Cecero, SJ, the provincial of the newly formed USA Northeast Province of the Jesuits came to pay me a visit. He was accompanied by Father Robert Keane, SJ, Rector of the Jesuit Community at Boston College.
The Jesuits are the largest religious community in the Archdiocese of Boston and are involved in so many different ministries, beginning with education at Boston College and Boston College High School, as well as at Ignatius Parish and their newly refurbished retreat house in Gloucester.
We are very grateful especially for the help the Jesuits provide in our parishes. There are many young Jesuits from all over the world studying here at St. Peter Faber House in Brighton and many of them are helping in our parishes, particularly those with immigrant communities. There are over 100 ethnic communities that have liturgies in various languages throughout the archdiocese, and this is certainly a great help for us.
Meeting with seminarians
This week I met with two groups of seminarians of mixed classes at the Cathedral rectory for Vespers and dinner.
As I have often mentioned, throughout the year I like to meet with the seminarians in small groups for an evening of prayer and conversation as a way to get to know them better, hear their experiences and share some of my thoughts with them. It is always a delightful evening.
Visit to St. Patrick's Manor
On Sunday (2/26), I went to St. Patrick's Manor in Framingham to celebrate Mass and visit with the residents there. We are very blessed by the presence of the Carmelites of the Aged and Infirm in our archdiocese. I have had the sisters in three of my four dioceses, and am so grateful for the extraordinary work they do in caring for the elderly.
After Mass and visiting with some of the residents I was very happy to have lunch with the sisters.
Wednesday (3/1) was, of course, Ash Wednesday, and as has been our practice in recent years we held a Lenten retreat for our staff at the Pastoral Center. Father Matthew Bradley of the Foyer of Charity in Scituate was our retreat master for the day.
We began our retreat in the morning with a conference by Father Bradley followed by a time of adoration and confession. We concluded our gathering with a Mass, which I celebrated, and the imposition of ashes.
We held a separate Mass for the staff because the regular noon Mass at the Pastoral Center was standing-room only for Ash Wednesday.
It's always so encouraging to see how many people come to church to begin the season of Lent.
That evening, at the invitation of Father Bob Casey, I went to St. Brigid's in South Boston to join in their celebration of Ash Wednesday.
I was very happy to be invited there and to be able to celebrate the Mass with Father Casey and his parishioners, which includes a very large and vibrant young adult community.