ďAfter Mass, we had lunch with the (Trappistine) sisters and we had a dialogue with them in their chapter room. They have a community of about 50 sisters. I was happy to see that there were six with white veils, which means the women are novices, so there are new vocations coming along.Ē
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Last Saturday (Jan. 10), we went to Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Marshfield to celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and the installation of Father Mark Ballard as the new pastor.
This is Father Ballardís first pastorate and there is great enthusiasm at his appointment. There was a huge crowd that came to accompany him as he officially begins his pastoral duties, including parishioners, family and well-wishers.
Father Ballard is coming from All Saints Parish in Haverhill, where he did a tremendous job. We wish all the best to the outgoing pastor, Father Thomas Reilly, who is retiring.
Gathering with religious
Sunday (Jan. 11), we offered a Mass at the Bethany Chapel in the Pastoral Center for all religious sisters, brothers and priests in the archdiocese followed by an open house and reception. The religious who work here in the Pastoral Center acted as the tour guides, showing people around and acting as hosts for the event.
Following the Mass, I blessed an image of the Sts. Martha and Mary attending to the Lord at Bethany, which was given to me by the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, who care for the chapel at the Pastoral Center.
Also during the gathering, Sister Marian Batho presented me with a wonderful history of religious women and men in the archdiocese over the last two centuries, ďJourneying Together.Ē The book is the result of a great deal of work by Sister Mary Rita Grady, who compiled a marvelous collection of histories, chronologies and statistics.
I certainly agree with Sister Marian when she said the book is a wonderful love story between the religious and Godís people here in the Church in Boston. I am also pleased that it is a ďlove storyĒ that continues to be written, as the foreword of the book says.
Visiting the Trappistine Sisters
Monday (Jan. 12), we went to visit the Trappistine Sisters at Mount Saint Maryís Abbey in Wrentham. It was my first visit to them since the blessing of their new abbess, Mother Maureen McCabe, who replaced Mother Agnes Day.
They also have a new chaplain from St. Josephís Monastery in Spencer, Father Gabriel, who is replacing Father Aquinas.
We celebrated Mass in their chapel, which is stunning in its simplicity and its typical Cistercian austerity.
In the Benedictine and Cistercian tradition, they always support themselves by the work of their hands. One of the ways they support themselves is by making candies and chocolates. I was thrilled that they presented me some to bring home with me, as they always do. Someone asked me if that was the real reason I visit. It isnít. But, it is one of the side benefits!
American Bible Society visits Pastoral Center
The American Bible Society prepared a deluxe polyglot version of the Bible that they made to mark the occasion of the Catholic Churchís Synod on the Word of God, which took place in Rome last October.
They presented one copy to the Holy Father and one to each of the synodal fathers, and they came to present me with a copy as well.
There are different columns with the Scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, English, Spanish and Latin.
Rev. Dr. Richard Jeske made the presentation along with Mario Paredes. Mario, whom I have known for many years, is now working with the society as a member of their board.
They also alluded to the fact that it was Cardinal Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros who sponsored the creation of the first polyglot Bible in Spain, which was published in 1517.
We had lunch with the representatives of the society. Afterwards, there was a presentation in Spanish and Portuguese of a lecture on the Lectio Divina for some of our people from our different ethnic ministries, along with Bishop Allue.