From Cardinal Seán’s blog

As I was putting the finishing touches on this week’s posting, I was saddened by the news of the death of my good friend Cardinal Avery Dulles. Cardinal Dulles, a Jesuit, was the first American-born theologian and non-bishop to be elevated to the rank of cardinal. He died at the infirmary at Fordham University, where he taught for many years.

My friendship with Cardinal Dulles goes back to the early 1970s, when he was teaching at Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary. Later, we taught together at Catholic University.

Cardinal Dulles was one of the most brilliant and intelligent theologians in the history of the Church in the United States.

We were privileged to have him visit us last year when he gave a talk at St. John’s Seminary, which was one of his last public appearances. He suffered for many years from the aftermath of his battle with polio when he was a young adult. For the rest of life he walked with a cane.

In his final lecture at Fordham titled: “A Life in Theology,” which was read for him, he said:

“Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence,” he said. “As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

He will be greatly missed.

Merrimack College

Last Friday (Dec. 5), I was invited to Merrimack College. The president, the provincial of the Augustinians and their board had me over for lunch.

It was a great honor when they announced at the luncheon the establishment of two full scholarships to Merrimack College in my name.

The scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Blessed Stephen Bellesini Academy in Lawrence.

The Bellesini Academy is a Catholic middle school run by the Augustinians dedicated to providing education to boys of limited financial means living in Lawrence.

St. Andrew’s, Billerica

On Sunday (Dec. 7) I went to St. Andrew’s in Billerica to celebrate their 140th anniversary.

Much like Sacred Hearts in Bradford, which I saw the next day, it was just filled with young families and young children. It’s very encouraging to see that.

The pastor, Father Michael Parise, is doing such wonderful work to build up the local community and provide many opportunities for the youth and adults of the parish to be actively involved in the life of the Church.

Immaculate Conception, Everett

That evening, I went to Immaculate Conception in Everett for confirmations for the Haitian community there.

The pastor, Father Gerry Osterman, is very engaged in helping the Haitian community. In fact, they are holding the ARISE program in Creole for their parishioners. In 1983, he co-founded the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. At the time, Father Gerry was the pastor at St. Boniface in Quincy. Along with some parishioners, he visited Haiti in 1983 to give a donation to a Mother Teresa’s home in the capital city, and that evolved in the creation of the Foundation that later built a hospital at Fond des Blancs, a very rural and poor area in Haiti. They do a tremendous work and Father told me that he was down there just recently.

Yawkey Foundation

Monday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I celebrated a Mass followed by a reception for the Yawkey Foundation to formally thank them for the $15 million contribution they are making to the Campaign for Catholic Schools for the Catholic Charities Youth Center at St. Peter’s and Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester-Mattapan.

Also in this week’s blog:

Visiting Immaculate Conception, Lowell

Visiting Sacred Hearts in Bradford

Jason Evert talk at Cathedral High School

Visiting the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary