Vocation discernment retreat
I have spent much of this past week in Rome for meetings with the Holy Father, but before I left, I was very happy to attend our annual vocation discernment retreats for men considering a vocation to the priesthood...
In all, we had 62 men participate with us -- 12 at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary and 50 at the Marian Center. At both locations, the men had a chance to hear a number of witness talks and conferences given by seminarians.
...We are very pleased that so many men are open to considering a vocation and were able to be with us. We are very grateful to the pastors and campus ministers who helped identify potential retreatants so we could invite them. We are also very grateful to Father Daniel Hennessey and all of those at Vocations Office who worked so hard to make the retreats a success. We pray that many vocations will blossom as a result of this experience.
Proposal for criminal justice reform
Also this week, I joined the bishops of the four dioceses of Massachusetts in issuing a letter to the Joint Conference Committee considering a proposal for criminal justice reform on Beacon Hill.
We feel these reforms stand to benefit many individuals and society as a whole, and we hope this legislation will be given careful consideration and ultimately be enacted. These proposed reforms are certainly in accordance with Catholic social teachings and stand to bring a great deal of help and relief to many individuals...
Snow in Rome
As I mentioned, after visiting the vocations retreats I left for Rome for one of our regular meetings of the C9 Council of Cardinals. Thankfully, I arrived just before the Monday snowstorm in Rome (2/26), which caused much of the city, including the airports, to be shut down. For some, it was a major inconvenience, but for many, there was a real sense of giddiness as they got to enjoy a rare Roman snow day.
I got a real kick out of this "Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office" that was sent to me by someone who works with the media here in Rome announcing a snowball fight between the Holy Father and the members of the C9 in the Vatican Gardens.
Of course, it was only a joke, which is probably for the best, since I'm sure it wouldn't have worked out very well for us cardinals because the Holy Father would certainly have the whole Swiss Guard on his side!
Meetings at the Vatican
This time, we discussed the theological statute of episcopal conferences in light of the Holy Father's call to avoid excessive centralization. We also heard a presentation from Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski on progress made by the recently created Third Section of the Secretariat of State, which was established for the formation of diplomatic staff.
We also talked about the various options for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to process cases of child abuse more expeditiously and heard from the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Turkson, regarding the progress of the dicastery...
Dinner with Boston priests in Rome
As I always like to do during my time in Rome, I invited all our Boston priests and seminarians there out for a dinner.
Usually, this group is mostly of seminarians. However, we have a number of priests also studying in Rome at this time including Father Andreas Davison, Father Tom Macdonald, and Father Michael Zimmerman, though Father Michael was not able to be with us because he's in the Holy Land right now.