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(Msgr. Robert P. Deeley succeeded Father Richard Erikson as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Sept.1st.)
Today, September 1st, marks the beginning of a new assignment for me in the service of the Archdiocese of Boston as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. With this appointment Cardinal Seán has asked me to assist him in the governance of the whole Archdiocese, a request I have willingly accepted. As I begin that great responsibility, I want to thank His Eminence for the trust he places in me asking me to serve the Church in Boston in this way.
Before speaking of my new ministry, however, I want first to thank Father Richard Erikson, who has just completed five years of dedicated service to the Archdiocese in this same position as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. Father Erikson has been generous to me with his time and assistance during this transition. It is a reminder for me of how unselfishly he has given himself to all of us in promoting the good of the Archdiocese during the years of his leadership. These years have shown us the goodness of his priestly heart. His love for Christ has been evident in his unwavering commitment to the good of the Church in Boston. This extraordinary dedication has been a blessing for our Archdiocese. I hope now that his time of renewal in Rome at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College will be rich, and will provide a well deserved sabbatical. I am confident that I speak for all in the Archdiocese as I thank him for his dedicated and gifted service and assure him that we look forward to his return home later this year.
As I now succeed Father Erikson I am able to see how much has been accomplished during these first eight years of Cardinal Seán's leadership as Archbishop. He has led a vigorous effort to heal and rebuild our local Church. I ask you to continue to pray for the Cardinal as he leads and governs this Church in Boston as Shepherd and Teacher. In this new assignment, I pledge my commitment to serve him and the entire Archdiocese to the best of my abilities. I humbly ask for the prayers of all the faithful in the Archdiocese, clergy, religious and laity, as we work together in continuing the work entrusted to us by Christ.
Over these last few weeks, since my return to Boston from Rome, I have enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with my family and friends. I have also had the chance to be with many priests, who have reminded me of how blessed we are in the service of these good priests in our Archdiocese. The dedication of these men in nurturing the relationship of the faithful to Jesus Christ in a time when there are less of them to continue this ministry is edifying. They serve the people of the Archdiocese generously. I encourage you to pray for them, and pray as well for vocations, so that their number might be increased. I look forward over the next several months to traveling around the Archdiocese and meeting with the priests to hear of the joys of their ministry as well as the challenges they are encountering. In my work in the Archdiocese I will be trying to be as supportive of their essential ministry as I can.
To our Pastoral Center staff and those of the various ministries across the Archdiocese, as well as our deacons and our consecrated women and men, that work to support our parishes, schools and related agencies, please know that I am deeply grateful for your dedicated commitment to the Church. In so many ways, you have faced numerous pastoral challenges these past few years. All of us in the Archdiocese need to be thankful for your outstanding service. I look forward to working with you, as we strive together to rebuild and reinvigorate the Archdiocese of Boston in accord with the vision of Cardinal Seán.
These past years of work in Rome have given me a unique opportunity to be near His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. I could not help but note that, whatever the difficulty he encounters, or the problem that arises, he is always confident in the grace of Christ. The word that most captures the spirit of Benedict XVI is "joy". He teaches us to place our hope in Jesus Christ, who is our joy, as well as the truth of our lives. Accepting this call is fundamental to our mission as Church. We need to come to know that grace ourselves and then, in accord with the call of our Baptism, to share it with others. As I begin this new assignment I ask for your prayers, and promise a remembrance in mine. Together may we bring the joy of Christ's love to our corner of the world here in the Church in Boston. May Mary, Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Hope, intercede for God's abundant blessings on our Archdiocese.