From Cardinal Seán’s blog

Meeting with Catholic schools principals and pastors

Last Thursday (Sept. 25), there was a meeting here at the Pastoral Center of Catholic school principals and pastors with Mary Grassa O’Neill, our new superintendent of schools.

The meeting was well attended, positive and hope-filled. For many of the pastors and principals, it was the first time they had visited the Pastoral Center, and they seemed thrilled with the new facilities.

The meeting, followed by a reception, was an opportunity for school leaders to speak with the superintendent and her entire staff who work in service of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston and to hear their vision for our schools. We also had the chance to solicit suggestions and reactions from attendees.

Cardinal Spellman High School

On Friday, I traveled to Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton for the celebration of their 50th anniversary. It was an exhilarating experience with about 1,200 people in attendance. There were a number of priests there who are graduates of the school including Fathers Walter Keymont, Michael Drea and Paul Ring.

The anniversary Mass featured a choir with 100 student voices. The participation of all of the students was so wonderful that everyone was moved by the enthusiasm, the joy and the strong, obvious Catholic identity of this institution. It was very encouraging to see. The campus ministry there is exceptional.

Symposium on religious life

Saturday, I went to Stonehill College in Easton for a symposium on religious life, which was part of the Archdiocese of Boston’s bicentennial celebration.

The Catholic universities in the area have all planned different events to mark the bicentennial. The Stonehill event was organized by Father Mark Cregan and his staff, including Sister Jeanne Gribaudo. There were about 600 religious participating, which was a wonderful turnout. We were very encouraged by it.

I invited Cardinal Franc Rodé, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to be part of the symposium.

...The cardinal gave a wonderful keynote address. His English is not strong, so he read the beginning of it and then had Father David M. O’Connell (president of the Catholic University of America) read the rest.

...The symposium attracted a number of interesting speakers. Some of the topics were very challenging and looked closely at the mistakes that have been made in religious life in the last 40 years. They also discussed some of the causes for the present crisis.

I celebrated the closing Mass, and in my homily I pointed out that, in the last few years, there has been a renewed interest in religious life. I called on the religious to say “yes” to a new generation of Catholics who are more open to religious life, and I also called upon them to say “yes” to the immigrant Catholics who are coming in such great numbers. Over half of the immigrants who come to the United States are Catholic.

I think there are great signs of hope, and it is obvious that the people who were at this conference are convinced of the paramount importance of the health of religious life for the Church. So, looking at some of the difficulties and the problems was part of the process, but certainly all of us are confident that religious life is a permanent fixture in the life of the Church.

Today there are many signs of hope and more interest in the part of our young Catholics in religious life.

Also in this week’s blog:

> Accepting a $15 million donation from the Yawkey Foundation.

> Centennial Mass at St. Angela Merici Parish in Mattapan.

> Attending a board of directors’ meeting of the Catholic University of America.

> Dedication of the chapel at new Pastoral Center.