Wednesday I celebrated the annual Golden Jubilarian Mass at Regina Cleri, our home for retired priests. We had nine jubilarians from the Class of 1964 at the Mass. It is always a very beautiful event, and I was happy to be a part of it. Pilot photo/courtesy Regina Cleri
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On Monday (May 5) I attended the annual board meeting of the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, commonly known as simply the St. James Society. The current president of the Society, Father David Costello, is doing a fine job and the reports the board heard were very encouraging.
Over the last 50 years, the St. James society has sent many priests to serve in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Among those priests is Bishop Robert Hennessey, who was with us at the meeting and was a member of the St. James Society serving in Bolivia for many years. In addition to Bishop Hennessey, I believe there have been three other bishops from the United States who have been members of the St. James Society: Bishop Edmond Carmody, Bishop Victor Galeone and Bishop Thomas Daily.
It is my hope that, as we become more aware of the need to have well-trained personnel to work among Hispanics, more and more bishops will consider sending men for four or five years to work with the St. James society with a view to having the benefit of their services when they return, having learned the language, culture and having had pastoral experience in Latin America.
During the meeting, I mentioned the study just released this week by Boston College on parishes with Hispanic ministry in the United States. I said the study points to the challenges and opportunities we have in serving Hispanic Catholics. In the last three years 70 percent of the growth in the Catholic Church has been due to the Hispanic population, yet it is underserved. Obviously, we need to recruit more and more of our ministers from that community itself but, at the same time, we also need to train our non-Hispanic priests to be able to serve the Hispanic community and to equip them, not just with linguistic knowledge, but also with an experience and appreciation for the culture that these Catholics come from.
Phase 2 pastors' training
That afternoon I stopped by to greet the pastors who were taking part in the training for Phase 2 of our Pastoral Plan Disciples in Mission at the Pastoral Center. I stopped by to address them and thank them for all that they are doing to serve the Church and God's people.
Trinity Catholic Academy
Tuesday evening, I attended Trinity Catholic Academy's Shields Founders Award Legacy Gala held at the Shields Science Center at Stonehill College. This year's awardee was Jack Connors.
The event was organized to thank those who helped build the 500-student elementary school in Brockton and each year, teachers, trustees, supporters and parents come together to celebrate how well the school is doing.
Trinity Catholic Academy is a great success story. There were three failing Catholic schools in Brockton and they were amalgamated into a single school with two campuses. Now, they have twice the enrollment of the three former schools put together.
And not only is enrollment up, but the school itself is flourishing. They just recently won the CYO regional basketball tournament, they have a wonderful band, the buildings have been refurbished, and the curriculum has been completely revamped. It is a great success story.
Many of the benefactors who made that possible were there at the gala. I was especially happy to see Tom Shields and his family and one of the especially generous supporters of the Campaign for Catholic Schools and Trinity Catholic, Jerry Sheehan, who attended with his daughter, Elizabeth.