'It has been my experience that every parish that has a Life Teen program has greatly profited from it (Life Teen), bringing enthusiasm and drawing young people into more active participation in the life of the Church.' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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School shooting in Florida
As I begin this week's post, our nation, the state of Florida and in particular the community of Parkland are shocked and stunned by the senseless and devastating gun violence at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday (2/7). We pray for the victims of the shootings: the students, teachers and school personnel, their families and loved ones, and all who are so terribly impacted.
It is more than tragic that our country is repeatedly experiencing these attacks, and that the number of innocent victims, of which one would be too many, continues to climb. As I have previously shared, there can be no rational justification for allowing private citizens to have personal arsenals of assault weapons. As a nation, we can and must do more to prevent these deadly occurrences. We must develop reasonable and effective policies that prevent access to such weapons by persons who have no need of them. We must not blame or stigmatize mental illness, but we must identify the factors that indicate a person is at risk for harming others and make the commitment to achieve better understanding, treatment and care for this terrible illness.
May our Lord, who stands with us to bring strength and consolation to these moments of grief and crisis, guide our deliberations and actions on behalf of the people of our country.
Dinner with seminarians
Friday evening (2/9), we continued our regular series of dinners with a group of our seminarians.
Some of the seminarians who were with us this time shared their experience of traveling to Chicago for the inter-seminary Father Pat O'Malley Invitational Basketball Tournament hosted at Mundelein Seminary. The whole tournament was live-streamed, so the men back in Boston were able to watch our men from St. John's Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary compete.
They said they had a wonderful time and enjoyed the opportunity to meet seminarians from other parts of the country.
Mass for survivors
Saturday (2/10), we held our annual Mass for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families at the Pastoral Center's Bethany Chapel. Of course, that came only a week after our archdiocesan Mass of Prayer and Penance that I celebrated in Lowell.
At the Mass, we prayed for all of those affected by sexual abuse.
We are so grateful to Vivian Soper and her staff at the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach for organizing the Mass and all that they do in outreach and providing services to victims and their families.
Life Teen Mass
Sunday (2/11), I went on to Resurrection Parish in Hingham, where we joined Fathers Tom Nestor, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Paul Soper to celebrate a Mass for the Sea Side Life Teen group there.
We had a beautiful celebration with very uplifting music, and afterward, there was a reception for the teens.
It has been my experience that every parish that has a Life Teen program has greatly profited from it, bringing enthusiasm and drawing young people into more active participation in the life of the Church. For example, in Hingham, the Life Teen group has participated in mission trips to Haiti, and I understand they have another one planned for later this year.
Visit with Consul General
Tuesday (2/13), I was visited by Consul General of Portugal in Boston Jose Rui Velez Caroco, who came to present me with the official documents related to the Grand Cross of Prince Henry the Navigator, which Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa conferred on me last year. I was so grateful to receive it.