Each year we have a gathering of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS, lay missionaries working in the various universities in the Archdiocese of Boston. This year, it was held last Thursday evening (4/20) at St. Mary's Parish in Waltham, and hosted by Fathers Wayne Belchner and Eric Cadin, along with Father Dan Hennessey.
They updated me on some of their work and recent activities in their ministries at Boston University, MIT and Harvard, and then we shared a meal together.
FOCUS is a wonderful movement that has had an extremely positive impact on campus ministry, not only in our archdiocese, but around the country. We are extremely grateful to have them here, and we hope that their presence will continue to grow.
Time in Rome
On Sunday (4/23), I departed for Rome for our April meeting of the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father. We met Monday through Wednesday, and on Monday we joined the Holy Father for Mass at Casa Santa Marta. This time, during our meetings we reviewed the work of several offices of the Curia, particularly Propaganda Fide and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
We also reviewed some materials regarding the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as well as three tribunals: The Apostolic Penitentiary, the Apostolic Signatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. We also discussed the relationship between the episcopal conferences and the Roman Curia.
In addition, I had the opportunity to update the council on our efforts at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
As I always like to do, I took occasion of my time in Rome to meet with different people. On Sunday evening I had dinner with Bishop Peter Uglietto and Father Bill Palardy, who happened also to be in Rome.
On Wednesday evening (4/26), I had dinner with Father John Pavlic, OFM Cap. and the other members of the executive committee of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious in the U.S., who were in Rome for meetings.
Each year, the executive committee makes a sort of "ad limina visit" to the Holy See, where they meet with the various dicasteries that impact the life of male religious priests and brothers in the United States.
Thursday (4/27), after the meeting of the Council of Cardinals ended, I led a presentation on child protection for a very large group of priests, sisters and lay people of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is in charge of the missions. Afterward we held a question and answer period. I think it was a very profitable event.
In addition to myself, the panel included Father Hans Zollner SJ, Msgr. Robert Oliver and Marie Collins. Although we are very sorry to lose Marie Collins from the commission, we are so pleased that she was present and is willing to help us in the very important task of trying to bring formation on the issue of child protection to Church leadership, particularly the new bishops and those who work in the various departments of the Holy See.
Thursday evening I was very pleased to be able to join the 25th Annual Rector's Dinner at the Pontifical North American College, hosted by Rector Father Peter Harman. Many of the Cardinals of United States were there, as well as many priests, including our own Father Michael Drea. During the dinner they honored Bishop Jim Checchio of Metuchen, N.J., who is himself a former rector, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Robert Weber of Florida. The seminarians provided us entertainment with singing, which was very well done.