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From Cardinal Seán's blog

On Friday, May 8, Cardinal O'Malley met virtually with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Members of the commission come from all over the world, including Colombia, England, Italy, the Philippines, and Samoa. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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Last Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday, a time when we especially pray for our priests and for vocations to the priesthood. So, Msgr. Kevin O'Leary and I were very happy to celebrate Mass for that special day at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Weekly webinar

On Monday, we continued our regular series of weekly webinars aimed at keeping our priests and people connected and informed during this time. This week, we addressed the topic of best practices for virtual evangelization, in which we heard from representatives of parishes in Salem, Brookline, and Quincy.

We are very happy to have these opportunities to share best practices, and it was wonderful to see how much good work is being carried on in our parishes despite the current restrictions on public gatherings and the need for social distancing.

We are also planning a future Monday webinar on fundraising in our parishes during this time. Without the Sunday offertory, it is very challenging for our parishes and for the archdiocese to meet our obligations. We are very pleased with the progress of ''90 Days Now -- For Your Parish'' initiative, which has already raised over $400,000 for our parishes. If you have not yet participated, I encourage you to take part in this program and also help us spread the word about it.

I also want to, once again, remind everyone of the ongoing effort to gather signatures for a petition to be presented to Gov. Baker, urging him to include private schools -- including our Catholic schools -- in the allocation of funds made available through the CARES Act. Our school system is educating over 30,000 youngsters, which results in savings to the Commonwealth of over $1 billion a year, just counting the archdiocese's schools alone.

Of course, our Catholic schools have an outstanding track record of providing a quality education, but for us, they are also a ministry. They are a way of evangelizing and helping young people to know about God, live a life of discipleship and be formed as good citizens. Every signature added to the petition will help ensure that this important mission continues.

Online Vespers service

On Tuesday, I once again joined the Boston Area Order of Malta for an online Vespers service.

This is the time of year when they would have gone on their annual Lourdes Pilgrimage, so I was happy to see that our local group continues to meet and stay active virtually through activities such as these Vespers celebrations.

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

On Friday morning, we held a virtual meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. While in some ways it may have been easier to hold a gathering of the commission in this way, it did present its own sort of challenge -- finding an appropriate time to hold the meeting. With commission members coming from all over the world -- Colombia, England, Italy, the Philippines, Samoa, Brazil, India, Zambia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Australia, Holland and Poland -- some commission members aren't even on the same day as others!

But, of course, we managed to arrange it, and we were very happy to be able to continue our work during this time. We are planning webinars on child protection and a number of other activities that the commission is involved in.

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