From Cardinal Seán’s blog

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Last year I did not go home for Thanksgiving so this year I decided to go and be with the family in Florida.

... We had beautiful weather for the meal and we were able to eat outside. There were many cousins and other relatives who joined us for the occasion.  Altogether, there were about 50 or 60 of us for dinner. 

My family in Florida is very close-knit and they are always looking for opportunities to come together. It is a joy to be part of these family celebrations. It is always a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the family and hear how everyone is doing.

Tuesday (Dec. 2), we celebrated an Advent Mass for the Order of Malta here at the Pastoral Center’s Bethany Chapel. For many of the knights and dames it was their first time at the Pastoral Center.

The Boston Area Order of Malta holds its annual Mass and dinner at Boston College in October. Last week’s additional gathering at the Pastoral Center provided the membership the opportunity to see our new Archdiocesan headquarters.

After the Mass we all had dinner, where we heard from Father John McLaughlin about his new ministry.

Father McLaughlin is the new vocations director for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, which serves those who serve in the armed forces.

It was very encouraging to hear about his work. He only started a few months ago and already heard from a hundred individuals, either priests looking to be chaplains or young men interested in entering the seminary. He said he has also heard from women interested in joining religious life. Father McLaughlin is there to help them in that process of discernment and to encourage them.

One of the interesting statistics Father McLaughlin shared with us is that nearly one-tenth of the ordinations each year are men who have been in the military.

I was very happy to hear his remarks. He gave a very engaging talk about his own vocation and the experience of doing his work.

Father McLaughlin is on loan for three years in this ministry, so we are pleased it is making an impact. I am very pleased because it was a great sacrifice for us because he was at St. Monica’s in Methuen, where he was the pastor and doing a fantastic job. However, if it helps the Church in the whole United States, then it is worth it.

On Wednesday I met with the recently ordained priests of the archdiocese. In each diocese where I have been bishop, I have tried to gather with the younger priests for prayer, a shared meal and conversation--as part of their ongoing formation following the Jesu Caritas format.

As part of our conversation, we talked about the economic crisis and how to minister to our people in this time of economic uncertainty. It is a time when some of our parishioners are losing their homes and losing their jobs. People are worried about tuition payments and mortgage payments.

We also talked about some of the root causes of this crisis and the commercialism of our age.

We want our parishes to be communities that are supportive of parishioners who are in tough times and facing economic difficulties.

It was interesting to hear the young priests exchanging their ideas, thoughts and experiences of what is happening in their parishes.