I want to express my concern and offer my prayers for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. In addition, I have authorized a special collection at all Masses next weekend, September 9-10, to aid in the relief efforts.
Having experienced the devastation of Hurricane Hugo while I was the Bishop of the Virgin Islands -- where we were left for six months without water, telephone or electricity and where the schools were closed for two years and so many people lost their homes and their jobs -- I have seen up close the devastation that a hurricane can cause to communities and to individuals. I know that the Catholics of Boston will be very generous in their response to help our neighbors in Texas who have been so devastated by this hurricane, the terrible storms and flooding.
Visiting with friends
This past weekend I was visited by my old friends Martim and Carolina Lobao. They have moved to Boston and will be studying here for two years. His family was part of my Portuguese Parish in Washington, D.C. for many years, and I baptized Martim and his seven brothers and sisters. So, I was very happy to see them and welcome them to Boston.
The pro-life cause
Also this week I met with Marjorie Dannenfelser, the director of the Susan B. Anthony List, and Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project who is a senior consultant for the Susan B. Anthony List. Susan B. Anthony List is an organization that is working to advance the pro-life cause. They are reaching out to legislators of both parties to try to bring about legislation that will protect human life, and they came to talk to me about some of their activities.
Visiting the seminaries
This weekend is, of course, Labor Day weekend. As we all know, with the passing of Labor Day comes the start of classes for all types of students -- including seminarians. So, as I do every year, I visited our three seminaries in the archdiocese to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit to begin the academic year. I am happy to report that all of our three seminaries are filled. St. John's, where I celebrated Mass Wednesday night (8/30), has about 100 residents and about 140 students, all told.
This afternoon (9/1), I celebrated the opening Mass for Pope John XXIII Seminary, and this evening, at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline. I was very happy to celebrate the Mass at Pope John XXIII in Spanish because, it so happens, that every Friday the community Mass there is in Spanish. (It's beginning to seem like every time I go to Pope John XXIII, I always go on a Friday and celebrate the Spanish Mass!) I'm very proud of them for doing this because I know that this is a part of their formation in preparation for ministry to the Spanish-speaking populations in the various dioceses from which the Pope John seminarians come. I want to congratulate them on that practice and encourage them to continue it!
Along those same lines, this summer St. John's Seminary sent four seminarians to the Pontifical University of Mexico City for an intensive Spanish course to enhance the Spanish language instruction that they are receiving at St. John's.