On Saturday, June 6, Cardinal O'Malley had a video chat with a number of children who will be receiving their First Communion this summer. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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This past week, we were very pleased that the New York Times published an extensive article about our COVID-19 ministry team here in the Archdiocese of Boston. I realize that we are not the only diocese with a ministry like this, but we have a very dedicated group of priests who have volunteered to live in quarantine and take special training to be available to bring the sacraments to people who are sick with the coronavirus. They have anointed many hundreds of people, and for this, we are very grateful.
We are also very gratified by the support and spiritual help that our priests have been able to give to the first responders, caretakers, and staffs of our hospitals and nursing homes who are dealing with this crisis so valiantly.
The article is beautifully written and accompanied by many lovely photographs that document the ministry and life of the priests during their time in quarantine.
I am pleased that, in addition to English, the article has also been made available in Spanish.
On Saturday, I had a video chat with a number of children who will be receiving their First Communion this summer. It was organized by Natalia Pellicano of our Ethnic Ministries Office, so the children represented a number of different immigrant communities.
The "icebreaker" for the conversation was asking the children what their favorite food was. Of course, the children had a lot of different answers -- such as pizza or rice and beans -- so I wove that into my remarks. "Food is very important," I said. "You know that I'm Irish, and we have a lot of Irish people in Boston. Well, many of them came to this country because their families had no food. People were starving in Ireland." And so, I went on to talk a little bit about the immigrants coming here.
I then spoke about important meals that we celebrate -- such Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner -- that are more than just food, that have another meaning. I explained that Mass has another meaning, too -- that Christ becomes present to make a gift of himself to us.
We concluded by praying the Hail Mary together in different languages. The children were very sweet, and it was a joy to be able to talk to them.
Annual spring meeting
Monday was the day that our annual spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was to have begun in Detroit. And although we could not gather in person, we had many different committee meetings during the course of the week.
On Monday, we had a meeting of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, which receives the money from the Collection for the Church in Latin America and distributes it to different project proposals. It is a very important way in which North American Catholics aid the Church and the people in Latin America.
Our chairman is Bishop Octavio Cisneros, who is Cuban. He recently was in Cuba for the installation of a new bishop there, and he shared with us a report of the situation that he encountered there. Prior to the pandemic, he and some of the committee staff were also in Venezuela, where the Church is involved in a massive distribution of food to aid those who are on the brink of starvation. I also was very happy to hear the report from Haiti and that they are getting close to the point where they can rebuild the seminary that was destroyed in the earthquake.
It is very edifying to be a part of the subcommittee on Latin America and see the many good works that are being supported throughout Latin America. We are very grateful for the generosity of our Catholics who support this collection.