'During the evening, one of the young men challenged me to the 'bottle flip.' He did it very well, but I tried three times and failed each time!' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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On Sunday (10/23), I went to Hopkinton to celebrate a Mass for the 150th anniversary of St. John the Evangelist Parish there. A number of priests who had been stationed in the parish were with us for the celebration, including, of course, Father Richard Cannon, the current pastor.
There was a wonderful music program and the choir was just extraordinary. I was very interested in this history of the parish, which they call, "the Cathedral in the Woods." The founding pastor, who is buried in the parish, was an Irish-American from Roxbury but the parish, of course, sprang up at a time after the Famine when a number of Irish were coming from Ireland to the Boston area. There was a boot factory in Hopkinton where many of the immigrants were employed. It is amazing that parishioners built this extraordinarily beautiful church, working on it themselves. After many hours of working at the boot factory, they would go to the local quarry and cut the stones that were used to build the church -- and it is a stunningly beautiful building. It is a great tribute to the faith of the people who were there at such a difficult time. Today, the parish continues to flourish.
St. Andrew's Dinner
That evening (10/25), I went to Sacred Heart Church in Quincy for one of our periodic St. Andrew's Dinners for young men considering a vocation to the priesthood. Father Lou Palmieri was our gracious host for the evening.
The idea of these dinners is to give young men who might be open to a priestly vocation an opportunity to hear about the experience of the seminarians and to meet the archbishop. The Vocations Office organizes a number of these dinners throughout the year. Many of them are held in the seminary, but sometimes we go out to the parishes to make it more convenient for people to attend.
We began with Vespers followed by a lovely meal that the parishioners prepared. Afterwards, three seminarians gave witness talks and I also addressed the young men, many of whom were accompanied by priests or other leaders from their parish. I think there were about 60 young men in all with us.
During the evening, one of the young men challenged me to the "bottle flip." He did it very well, but I tried three times and failed each time!
Seminary Board of Trustees
Wednesday (10/26), I was happy to attend a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston. This was Father Kiely's first meeting with us as the new rector.
We reported on the fact that the national vocation directors association recently had their meeting here in Boston, and it was an opportunity for many of them to see Pope St. John Seminary for the first time. We thought that it was very propitious that they would have an opportunity to meet the new rector and see the renovations to the chapel as well as the new library and communications center. We hope that this visit will be a help in recruiting for seminarians for Pope St. John, which does such a marvelous job of preparing older men with vocations.
Wednesday night, I was happy to attend the Adopt-A-Student Foundation Dinner to benefit Cathedral High School. During the evening they honored me and Jack Regan, who has been very involved in supporting the school and has had an intern program for many years with the students. There was a wonderful turnout for the dinner and, during the evening, they had two students and a graduate share their reflections with us. It's always so inspiring to hear the stories of students. Many of the students come to the school facing challenges: Half of the students are from immigrant families where English is not the first language and 60 percent of them come from single-parent families.