On Sunday, May 5, Cardinal O'Malley visited St. Anne Parish in Readville to celebrate Mass for their centennial anniversary. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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We were very sad to learn this week of the death of Jean Vanier after a long battle with cancer. His spirituality and his service to the developmentally disabled made such an impact, not just in our Church, but throughout the world through the L'Arche movement he began. It was my privilege to have met him on a number of different occasions -- he was someone whom I admired very, very much.
He was from a very prominent Canadian family and his father had been governor general. As a young man, he embarked on a military career but came to discover his vocation in serving the developmentally disabled and forming communities in which they could live with dignity. One of those who was impacted by him was Henri Nouwen, the spiritual writer from Holland, who went also to live with the L'Arche community.
His life and ministry have made such an impact on the world -- and his passing is a great loss for the Church. He underscored the preciousness of life in a world where women are encouraged to abort children with Down syndrome and other developmental problems. Yet, he saw these people as his brothers and sisters, made in the image and likeness of God. That testimony is so valuable in today's world.
The Holy Father was able to speak with him by phone before he died, which I am sure was a great blessing for him. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy goes on, and his work at L'Arche is a great tribute to his humanity and to his Catholic faith.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
Last Saturday, I celebrated confirmations in two parishes in the archdiocese -- St. John the Evangelist in Canton and Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence. Originally, I was scheduled only to celebrate the confirmations at St. John's in the morning, but in order to allow Bishop Hennessey to celebrate the funeral of Kay McAvoy, I took his confirmation at Corpus Christi in the afternoon.
The Easter season is such a wonderful time of year when so many sacraments are celebrated, particularly baptisms, confirmations, and ordinations.
It is fitting that we celebrate the Easter sacraments in our parishes, and confirmations are such an important event, not just in the life of the individual young people who are being confirmed, but also in the life of the parish and the Church. It is a time to call people to a deeper commitment to their faith and a sense of mission and vocation, and I am always very happy for the opportunity to address these themes with the young people. I often talk to them about vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, but most especially to marriage, to which most of them are being called. I like to tell them how the gifts of the Holy Spirit can help to prepare them for their vocation in life. So, it was a great joy to be able to celebrate the confirmations at these two parishes.
On Sunday, I went to St. Anne Parish in Readville to celebrate a Mass for their centennial anniversary. Father Ron Coyne is the pastor there, and we were so happy to have a number of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth also with us. The sisters had run the school there for over 90 years.
The parish is very vibrant, with many different groups and activities, and I was very happy to be able to celebrate this important milestone with them.