Cardinal O'Malley celebrates the Rite of Final Commendation for retired Boston Auxiliary Bishop Emilio S. Allué outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross April 29. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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We were all very saddened this week when Bishop Emilio S. Allué passed away on Saturday after a battle with the coronavirus.
However, we were comforted by the fact that Father Tom Macdonald, a member of our new priest COVID-19 response team, was able to give the bishop the last rites on Friday. That was a great consolation for all of us and for his family in Spain. Of course, it is very difficult for his family to be so far away.
Bishop Allué had served so well in the diocese for many years and was beloved by the priests and the people of the archdiocese, especially among the Hispanic community, where he served with special responsibilities.
I first met Bishop Allué when he was a priest working in New York. So, I have known him for many, many years. He was a gentleman and such a kind and pastoral priest. Once the churches are able to open again, we will have a memorial Mass for him.
He was a member of the Salesian Order and asked to be buried with his community at their cemetery in Goshen, New York. So, we arranged for his body to be taken there by funeral director Richard Gormley of Gormley Funeral Home in West Roxbury. Richard knew the bishop well because Bishop Allué lived for many years at St. Theresa Parish. Also accompanying them on the trip was Bishop Allué's long-time secretary, Anne Kenney, and her husband, Brad.
We were glad to say a prayer here at the cathedral as they began their journey down to New York for his interment.
Monday webinar videoconference
This week, we continued our series of Monday webinar videoconferences, addressing some of the issues and challenges we are facing during this time of pandemic and looking at plans going forward.
This time, the webinar was for priests, deacons and parish staffs along with parish pastoral and finance council members, and we discussed the financial challenges of parishes and the possibility of parish mergers. Going forward, we will have sessions on virtual evangelization and continuing discussions on the process of reopening our churches.
During the week, we continued with our regular schedule of online meetings. Among them was a meeting of the Presbyteral Council and a meeting of the Trustees of the Catholic University of America. As I have mentioned, we are holding our Presbyteral Council meetings much more frequently now, as people are anxious to have the opportunity to communicate, share ideas and express what their challenges and best practices are during this time. Once again, we are so grateful for the technology that allows us to stay in such close contact with our parishes and our priests.
In these last few weeks, since the stay-at-home order has been in place, we have lost six priests, including Bishop Allué. Five of them were from Regina Cleri and, another, Father Russell Best, was a graduate of Cathedral High School. So, we decided to have a memorial Mass at the cathedral to pray for them on Friday. We did this particularly in light of the fact that the priests from Regina Cleri, because they are in isolation, were not even able to attend a graveside service. Usually, they have services at Regina Cleri for priests who die in the residence.
Between the six priests, there were 350 years of pastoral service to the archdiocese and to the people of God. So, we were happy to be able to celebrate the Mass, even though it was just Bishop Bob Reed, Msgr. Kevin O'Leary and myself who were able to be present.