Members of the permanent diaconate class and their wives Pilot photo/Courtesy Permanent Diaconate Office
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(On Saturday, Sept. 8), there was a wonderful celebration of the 50th anniversary of Catholic Memorial High School in Boston. The banquet was held at the Copley Marriott. The Irish Christian Brothers, founded by Blessed Edmund Rice, started that school at the petition of Cardinal Richard Cushing. Cardinal Cushing named it the Catholic Memorial because they were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the archdiocese at the time.
I reminded those at the celebration that we are now poised to celebrate our 200th anniversary, and we are thankful for the 50 years of wonderful Catholic education that has been the history of Catholic Memorial. Many vocations have come out of that school. In fact, Father Dan Kennedy, an alumnus and newly ordained priest, gave the closing benediction.
One of the interesting facets of the evening was that they recognized a number of families who they considered important supporters of the school. One family had seven sons who had all graduated from Catholic Memorial! There was also a pictorial history that showed the wonderful accomplishments of the school over its lifetime.
The school is flourishing today with over 800 students, and the evening was a great success. I was happy to be a part of it.
Permanent deaconate acolyte ministry
On Sunday, we had 27 men in our permanent diaconate program receive the ministry of acolyte. The acolyte used to be what was called a minor order in the Church, along with lector, porter and exorcist. Major orders were sub-deacon, deacon and priest. Now that has all been changed. We still have what are called ministries, and the ministries are acolyte and lector.
By virtue of receiving the acolyte ministry, the men become ordinary ministers of the Eucharist and can distribute Communion. It is a very simple but lovely ceremony in which they are presented with the chalice and paten, and a prayer is said over them. These ministries have been a way of building up towards ordination to the permanent diaconate. I think it calls people to a greater seriousness in their commitment and their preparation. It is a preparation for what we look forward to happening in May when we have the ordination of this class of permanent deacons at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
I was glad to see so many people attend. We had the members of the English and Spanish programs together for the Mass. If I recall correctly, there were 10 Hispanic candidates and 17 English-speaking candidates.
Many of their pastors were present to concelebrate, which was a wonderful show of support. After all, it can be very difficult for a pastor to get away from his parish on Sunday.
This past Wednesday, I attended the funeral of Msgr. John Dillon Day, a priest for 68 years.
He was an extraordinary human being, a man of great passion and zeal for his faith. He was also so enthusiastic about the priesthood that when I first came to Boston, even though he was over 90 years old, he came to see me to offer to help with vocation recruitment. We took him up on that offer, and he spoke at some of the St. Andrew’s Dinners for young men considering the priesthood. He was as much in love with the priesthood and the Church after almost 70 years as he was the day of his first Mass.
Also in this week’s blog:
> Ordaining three Capuchin deacons and two priests
> Attending the wake of Dr. Robert Flynn, the founding president of our Caritas Christi Health Care System
> Visiting Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton
> Attending a meeting of the pro-life committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
> Attending the annual lawn party for Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston