'My time in Rome happened to coincide with the 85th General Chapter of the Capuchins, which was also taking place in Rome at the Collegio San Lorenzo da Brindisi.' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the C9 Council of Cardinals.
Last week, much of my time was dedicated to the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors... We also had contact with the Vatican ambassadors of Ireland, Chile, and Australia. We always work closely with these three countries because of the situations there.
Meeting with newly ordained bishops
Last Saturday (9/8), I gave a conference to the group of about 200 bishops from around the world who have been ordained in the past year. They were in Rome for the two-week seminar given annually to all recently ordained bishops to help prepare them for their new ministry.
Each year, a group of us from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors addresses this group on child protection issues and, this year, I was accompanied by Dr. Myriam Wijlens and Father Hans Zollner. Also, though Marie Collins was not available to be present in person, she prepared a beautiful video that we presented to the bishops.
Council of Cardinals meeting
Then, on Monday (9/10) we began our meetings of the C9 Council of Cardinals... As usual, our meetings concluded on Wednesday. One of the important outcomes was the Holy Father's call for a meeting next February of the presidents of all the bishops' conferences throughout the world to discuss the safeguarding of children. I know the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will be very much involved in helping to prepare for that, and we think it will be an opportunity to raise consciousness and to give the kind of help needed to many countries where this issue is just beginning to be dealt with. We also hope to have the opportunity to hear the voice of victims hurt by the leadership of the Church.
General Chapter of the Capuchins
My time in Rome happened to coincide with the 85th General Chapter of the Capuchins, which was also taking place in Rome at the Collegio San Lorenzo da Brindisi. Every six years, we have this gathering of representatives from all the provinces throughout the world who come together to elect new leadership.
Our new Minister General is Father Roberto Genuin, who was the provincial of Venice, and is replacing Father Mauro Johri from Switzerland. Our new vicar general is a friar from my province who was previously the Custos of Puerto Rico, Brother Jose Angel Torres Rivera. Also elected to the general council was Brother Celestino Arias (known affectionately as Brother Tino), whom many in Boston will remember from his work at St. Peter's Teen Center in Dorchester. Because of his new position, he will now be living in Rome.
Delegation to the Holy Father
Finally, on Thursday (9/13), I was asked to accompany the delegation of the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in their meeting with the Holy Father to discuss the situation in the United States in light of recent developments. The delegation included USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Vice President Archbishop Jose Gomez, and Secretary-General Msgr. Brian Bransfield. We had about an hour meeting with the Holy Father, during which the Holy Father impressed upon us how close he feels to the Church in the United States in this time of great difficulty, and we talked about various paths forward. We concluded our meeting praying that the Lord help and guide us as we work to heal the many wounds in our Church.