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From Cardinal Seán's blog

Cardinal O'Malley celebrated the annual Appeal Appreciation Mass at St. Agnes Church in Reading. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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This week, the whole country was shocked and grieved by the violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a congregation that had reached out to immigrants and was targeted by an anti-Semitic gunman. There, 11 people were murdered and six others were wounded. I think the reaction throughout the nation was one of horror and dismay.

Here in Boston, I was pleased to be able to participate in a gathering on the Boston Common the day after the shooting, where many religious and civic leaders came together to pray and reflect on this terrible incident. It was encouraging to see a huge crowd that assembled to be a part of the event, expressing their solidarity with the Jewish community.

In my own remarks, I told the people that the Gospel that was being read that day in all the Catholic churches in the world, as well as in many Protestant churches, was the story of Jesus on his way to the temple.

I said it was a reminder that the Church is the daughter of the synagogue and that today we are all congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue, that we all share in the pain and sadness that was caused by the violence inflicted on those innocent people as they came together to worship God.

Mass for the U.S. Catholic Mission Association

On Saturday morning, I went to the Marriott Hotel in Quincy to celebrate Mass for the U.S. Catholic Mission Association, which was holding its annual gathering in Boston this week.

Our local Ugandan choir sang for liturgy and did a wonderful job.

Locally, Father Gabe Troy, Maureen Heil of our Pontifical Mission Societies Office, and Father David Costello of the St. James Society were all involved in planning and organizing the conference. We thank them and commend them for their wonderful work.

Annual Appreciation Mass

That afternoon, I went to St. Agnes Church in Reading for our annual Appeal Appreciation Mass. We hold this Mass each year as an opportunity to thank those in different parishes who volunteered to assist with the work of the appeal, which is the lifeblood of our local Church.

Following the Mass, there was a reception that included an opportunity for dialogue with those who attended.

Annual Red Mass

On Sunday, I gathered with the members of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Archdiocese of Boston for our annual Red Mass at Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine in Boston's Seaport District.

The Red Mass is a venerable tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages when lawyers and judges gathered at the beginning of the court's term to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in all their endeavors. Red, of course, is the liturgical color associated with the fire of the Holy Spirit and the Mass takes its name from the red vestments worn by the celebrants.

After the Mass, the guild members always gather for a luncheon at which they bestow the Honorable Joseph R. Nolan Award and hear from a keynote speaker. This year, they presented the Nolan Award posthumously to Camille F. Sarrouf, who died in September after a long career as an outstanding jurist.

His wife Joyce and his son Camille Jr. were present with us to accept the award on his behalf.

In her introductory remarks, Maura Doyle, vice president of the guild, made a beautiful reflection on the life of Attorney Sarrouf and the influence of faith in the life of a professional, particularly those in the legal profession.

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