Monday, August 31, 2015

Opening Mass and Pig Roast

Here are some of the first pictures from this evening's opening festivities!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August Rector's Conference: Who Are We?

Here's a video presentation of my August Rector's Conference.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

On the Jubilee Year of Mercy

I offered the following reflections on the Jubilee Year of Mercy as a part of my annual address to the Plenary Meeting of Saint John's Seminary Faculty this afternoon.

Last March, Pope Francis proclaimed a Jubilee Year of Mercy for the whole Church, beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and closing next year on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

There are many fascinating aspects of this exciting and much needed year of reflection on the mercy God shown to us through Christ Jesus his Son, and much to be explored in a world where, as one wag put it “nothing is sinful, but nothing is ever forgiven.”

There are many dimensions to be explored in the application of the Holy Father’s Gospel of Mercy, but one I have found particularly helpful comes, ironically, from the American political experience of Watergate.

In his 1975 article “On Executive Clemency: The Pardon of Richard M. Nixon,” Michael McKibbin provides the definitive juridical analysis of this important action by President Gerald Ford, which did, as he hoped, provided an end to “our long national nightmare.”

McKibbin provides a fascinating narrative of the events and legal issues, beginning with Nixon’s denial of guilt and the now famous subsequent events which brought the events of Watergate to the attention of the American people and the judgement of the Senate Watergate Committee, Attorney General, Special Prosecutor’s Office and even the Supreme Court.

He notes that President Ford’s pardon is rather broad in its scope, granting “a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 10, 1969 through August 9, 1974. (39 Fed. Reg. 32601-02 [1974])

My present point in this extraordinary narrative is that this act of executive mercy had one foundational requirement: “the acceptance of a pardon is an acknowledgement by the grantee that he is guilty of the offenses contained therein. A denial of such guilt by the grantee will be construed to be a rejection of the pardon.” (page 351)

Thus, Richard Nixon was forced to admit in writing that his ". . . motivations and actions in the Watergate affair were intentionally self-serving and illegal" in order to receive a presidential pardon.

The multiple Supreme Court rulings that underpin the establishment of confession as a prerequisite for clemency are rooted in the unwavering insistence by the Church that contrition and confession must precede absolution.

By contrast, the Holy Father’s oft-misquoted “Who am I to judge” has been taken by many as a willingness to absolve without the need of contrition.  

A close examination of the Holy Father’s words and actions, however, reveals a Pope and a Church deeply appreciative of our traditional teachings about the dynamics of Christian conversion.

The famous interview on the plane began with a discussion of the accusations against a certain Vatican employee who was alleged to have carried on sexual relations with men in a nunciature years before. The Holy Father begins by saying that his investigations have turned up no evidence, and then proceeds to lament those who would deny the efficacy of repentance and conversion from the sins of our youth, both real and imagined.  Here is what he actually says:

….if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins.”

He then proceeds to the accusations of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and says that this particular cleric was found not guilty of the accusation. But, he continues, he seems to have been labeled as “gay,” as someone who has a tendency for same sex attraction.

Now, notice the Holy Father is not talking about a person who is guilty of being part of a “gay lobby” or someone who is actively involved in sexual relationship with a person of his own sex.  He is simply talking of someone who is attracted sexually to people of their own sex.

In that context, listen to what the Holy Father actually said:

If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ...“no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. 

Pope Francis’ comments on the plane are not, therefore, very different from the remarks offered by Pope Benedict XVI to Peter Seewald some years before.  

The now Pope emeritus reflected candidly at the time that “It is no secret that there are homosexuals even among priests and monks.”  However, he counseled, “the persons who are affected must at least try not to express this inclination actively, in order to remain true to the intrinsic mission of their office.”

This is not cheap grace.  This is love and respect for all persons, even the sinner, but such a deep love that it longs for the day when “they turn from their evil way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

This is why Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Because, as reminds us in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, mercy is the greatest of the virtues.  This is so, he quotes Saint Thomas a writing, “since all the [other virtues] revolve around it and, more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies. This is particular to the superior virtue, and as such it is proper to God to have mercy, through which his omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree”. (EG, no. 37, cf. S. Th., II-II, q. 30, a. 4)

Thus, in this year of mercy, the Holy Father calls on sinners to repent, reminding us that “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” (EG, no. 3)  But, likewise, he urges us never to forget that the Church, like her Lord, ”has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy.” 

So, we must preach mercy.  In our classrooms, by our actions and in our lives.  A mercy that ever calls the sinner to repentance in love, but only in love…not in delectation over my being the virtuous and ‘that one being the sinner,’  but in love. For, as Romans reminds us, “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)

Let us conclude, then, by praying together, Pope Francis’ prayer for the Year of Mercy:

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.  
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Celebrating Saint Monica with the New Seminarians

This is the homily I preached this morning with the new men on the Feast of Saint Monica.

It’s a story of perduring faith.  The kind that walks the Via Dolorosa and keeps on going.

She was born in the part of Numidia now know as Algeria, on the edge of the desert.  Early on she married a politician by the name of Patrick. But Patrick had a violent temper, especially when he drank, and Monica’s habits of praying and going to Church and taking care of poor people drove him crazy.    

They had three children, one of whom almost died as a child.  But even when he got better and grew up, this child he turned into a first class rascal.  Lazy and selfish, he refused to go to Church, even when his father died when he was 17.

In fact, not only did he refuse to go to Church, he would come home from school and berate his widowed mother about the foolishness of her beliefs.  But she never stopped praying.  For Patrick, for Perpetus and Navitas and even for Augustine, assured by an unnamed holy Bishop that “no child of those tears could ever perish.”

Married to a violent alcoholic who died when her kids were teenagers, with a lazy, selfish and self-righteous son, she was driven not to bitterness, but to prayer.  Morning and night, going from Church to Church praying for her children, especially the errant Augustine, she would leave offerings  behind her of “porridge, bread, water and wine” for the poor.

And her prayers were heard, as Augustine became a priest and a Bishop and one of the greatest shepherds the Church has ever known.  Saint Augustine, whose holiness is an answer to the prayers of his faithful mother.

Some of your mothers and fathers or other adults were cut from that same cloth.  And you will give thanks for their example, their patient endurance and the gift of faith which they have passed on to you.

And now here you are, on this feast of Saint Augustine’s mother, the beneficiary of all those folks whose faith and inspiration brought you to the front doors of this holy house.

Be at peace!  Be not afraid!  Relax!  You’re home!

Or as Saint Paul said to you a few minutes ago: ‘Be reassured!”   For “in our every distress and affliction, through your faith” you will always look up and see that it is only the Lord.

For the Lord and his Church look upon you with joy this day.  On the longing of you heart for holiness, on the fervor of your desire for God’s way and your willingness to leave all and seek only the Kingdom of God.

For the Lord and his Church and all those who love you give thanks for you…”for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?”  With Saint Paul, your rector and pastor and the whole faculty promise that “Night and day we [will] pray beyond measure for you,” that “the Lord make you increase and abound in love…so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”

So, welcome to this holy house, where the work of Monica and Augustine and all the saints continue.  Where we strive for holiness, that God’s will might be done.

My brothers, “faithful and prudent servants” all, welcome home!

A Duck Boat Tour of Boston

This morning I joined the new men on a Duck Boat Tour of Boston, with the assistance of Dr. Phil Crotty, who provided his extraordinary insights into the religious history of Saint Botolph's town.  Here are a few shots of our journey on the streets of Beantown and the waves of the Charles River!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Welcoming the New Seminarians....

Here's a picture of the new Seminarians and their families as they begin their tour of the Seminary this afternoon...

And here are the words with which I welcomed them to Saint John's Seminary:

Well, look at you!  You made it!  You fit all that stuff in your room and now here you are in the heart of this holy house.  Where each day we will pray, morning noon and night, only that God might make us holy and we might know his will.

So…. Relax!  Be not afraid!  Be at peace! You’re home!  It’a going to be great fun!

For what could be better than falling daily more in love with Christ and his Church?

What could be better than letting go of everything but that which lasts forever?

What could be better than seeking after perfect joy and eternal happiness?

What could be better than seeking only to grow to full manhood in Christ?

What could be better?  Nothing. Not all the glitzy, shiny little baubles the world offers. Not all the wiles and pomps and pleasures held out by the powers of darkness. Not all that tempts and seduces.

None of it is better than loving the Lord Jesus and serving his Church and growing in him.

Oh, it won’t always be easy.  There will be hard days, with very hard work.  There will be crosses, and some of them quite heavy.  But he will always be there with his sufficient grace.  And we’ll be here too.  We who’ve spent our lives trying to do what you’ve now begun.  And we will pray for you, lead you and share with you the ways that we have learned to follow the Lord and serve his Church and love his poor as his unworthy disciples.

So… Be at peace!  Be not afraid!  Relax!  You’re home! And there’s no place better to be.

It's Moving Day...

The largest incoming class of seminarians on over twenty years arrives today!  Please keep all 32 of them in your prayers!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Moving the Conference Room Table...

Today, thanks to the expert movers at Gentle Giants and with a little help from a crane, we moved the large conference table from the basement to the Cardinal Law Meeting Room where the Faculty meets tomorrow for an extended meeting.  Thanks to all who made this possible, especially Armand DiLando!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

One of the Best Staffs in the World

A few weeks ago, some of the Faculty at the Institute and some of our SJS Staff got together to celebrate my 35th anniversary of Priestly Ordination.  I am blessed with one of the best staffs in the world!

And what about you?

This is the homily I preached this morning at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time.

They were scandalized!  So much so, that they decided to leave him.

Here was this rabbi, Jesus from Nazareth, and they had been following him for a long time.  They heard the Sermon he gave on the hillside by the Sea of Galilee.  They saw the time he allegedly raised the little girl from the dead, and heard about the lepers he cleansed.  They even heard stories that he was miraculously born of a virgin and there was a star and magi from the East coming to honor him as the Messiah.

But now they were scandalized, and ready to leave him, because of the crazy stuff he was saying.  

My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, 
and I will raise him on the last day.

Eating his flesh?!  Drinking his Blood!?  This was entirely too much for them.  And that those who did so would live forever!?  Just too much to believe!

So they walked away.  As the Gospel tells us, “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.

And then, in one of the saddest moments in the Gospel, Jesus turns to the Twelve Apostles and asks them, ‘What about you?  Do you also want to leave?” 


Ain’t too much different from today.  Here on this Altar, Jesus gives us his Body and Blood to eat and drink, and he still promises that he who eats his Body and drinks his Blood will live forever, and that he who does not eat of this supper will have no life in them.

And at that, many walk-away.  Ten percent of those who were baptized as Catholics now identify themselves as no longer Catholic.  And of those who still say “they are Catholic,” less than one in five go to Mass every Sunday.

And here you sit, the faithful remnant, the one in five.  The ones who believe that the Holy Eucharist and the Mass are the source and the summit of everything worthwhile in life.  The ones who long to eat his Body and drink his Blood, not just because you seek after eternal life, but because you seek after the Christ through whom you were made and who will come to judge the living and the dead at the end of time.  The ones who have faith in Jesus, who hope in Jesus and who seek to love others as he has loved us.

So all the others run away.  And he turns to you and says ‘What about you?  Do you also want to leave?”

And you reply: “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Blessing of Pilgrims to Cuba

Three days ago I was privileged to celebrate Mass with some of the pilgrims accompanying Cardinal O'Malley to the Holy Father's Pastoral Visit to Cuba in a few weeks.  Here's the homily I preached and the prayers I offered that God keep them safe and sanctify them on this great journey!

Why be a pilgrim?

Because every pilgrimage is but a rehearsal, every such trip a preparation for that final journey which we will take at the end of our lives. When we will run out to meet him as he comes to judge the living and dead, facing our  Creator with the hope of eternal life.

For every pilgrimage every procession every movement from here to there is but a reflection of the only procession, the only pilgrimage which really matters, from here to eternity

And the same is true for Popes as it is for pilgrims: Pope Francis, who is planning for his pastoral visit to Cuba in just few weeks, is going for the same reason you are: to draw closer to God, and to draw others along that same path.

That means that despite the socioeconomic, political and historical aspects of this trip, at its heart is Jesus, his Blessed Mother and his Church and the universal call to holiness in him.

Four Hundred and fifteen years ago, three boys were on a pilgrimage as well.  They were in a little boat, rowing across the Bay of Nipe on the eastern side of Cuba.  They thought they were looking for salt to preserve the meat which their families ate back home.  But halfway across the bay they found not what what they were looking for, but she who was looking for them.

A storm broke out and their little boat was tossed hither and yon.  But when the clouds parted they saw, way in the distance a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary approaching them above the waves.  She was holding the Christ Jesus in one arm and a golden cross in in the other, with a sign beneath:  "I am the Virgin of Charity.”

304 years later, Pope Benedict XV declared Our Lady of Charity to be the patron of Cuba, and 96 years after that, on the 400th anniversary of the apparition, Pope Benedicy XVI "entrusted to the Mother of God the future of  [Cuba], advancing along the ways of renewal and hope, for the greater good of all Cubans….”  Then the Pope approached the venerable statue, lit a candle and stood in silent prayer for several minutes while a choir sang the Salve Regina.  

Like the three young men in the boat, Pope Benedict XVI and soon Pope Francis and you: will make a pilgrimage to Cuba, a pilgrimage to a life of holiness and charity for the Cuban people and for each and every one of you.

During his pastoral visit, Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the Cuban people “to reinvigorate your faith … that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity…”

His appeal should echo in our hearts, as well.  For a pilgrimage to Cuba is not essentially about politics or tourism, but about our faith.

I envy you in making this journey to a land with such a rich and long history of vibrant Catholic faith.  But I will be one with you in prayer, joined at the Altar, as it were, and I urge you for your entire journey to be like the three young men in the boat, keeping your eyes fixed on the horizon, ever hopeful of finding “Our Lady of Charity,” and her Son, who is the fulfillment of every pilgrim’s dream.

So now, may I invite you to stand for the Pilgrim Blessing.

Book of Blessings, nos. 602-603


As you prepare to make this pilgrim journey, let us pray for safety and health and for the Cuban people with whom you will seek the Living God.

Father all-holy, of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protection as we begin this journey, so that we may return home again in safety. 

We Pray to the Lord:         R.  Lord, hear our prayer.

You have given us your only Son to be our way to you; make us follow him faithfully and unswervingly.

We Pray to the Lord:         R.  Lord, hear our prayer.

You gave us Mary as the image and model for following Christ; grant that through her example we may live a new life.

We Pray to the Lord:         R.  Lord, hear our prayer.

You guide your pilgrim Church on earth through the Holy Spirit; may we seek you in all things and walk always in the way of your commandments. 

We Pray to the Lord:         R.  Lord, hear our prayer.

You lead us along right and peaceful paths; grant that we may one day see you face to face in heaven. 

We Pray to the Lord:         R.  Lord, hear our prayer.


With hands outstretched, the celebrant continues with the prayer of blessing.

All-powerful God,
you always show mercy toward those who love you
and you are never far away for those who seek you.
Remain with your servants on this holy pilgrimage
and guide their way in accord with your will.
Shelter them with your protection by day,
give them the light of your grace by night,
and, as their companion on the journey,
bring them to their destination in safety.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R.  Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Can You Help Us To Go To See the Pope?


 The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has asked that all seminarians be present to greet the Holy Father before the Mass of Canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. at the end of September. As you can imagine, this enormous unplanned expense of travel arrangements and two nights of lodging for 100+ seminarians is a burden that weighs heavily on my heart (and our operating budget).

Thinking about you all, as I often do, I realized that you may just find yourself in the opposite situation: wishing you could attend of some of the Papal festivities, but for whatever reason unable to join the crowd of millions of like-minded faithful.

So perhaps, instead, you might consider letting us go for you? Along with our men will go your names and your intentions as they represent each and every one of you in the presence of his Holiness. We estimate it will cost approximately $400 per seminarian (or $6,500 per class) to make this trip. If you would be interested in sponsoring one or more men, we would be so grateful – though a donation of any amount will be of great help to us.

If you would like to help the men of Saint John’s Seminary travel to the nation’s capital to be with Pope Francis, please click here to offer your financial support.Remember to select “Other” in the drop-down menu for gift designation and you can enter your “intentions” in the text box.

Gifts may also be made by mailing checks to

Saint John’s Seminary
Attn: Msgr.’s Wish List
127 Lake St
Brighton, MA 02135

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dedication of the Bishop John D'Arcy Conference Room

This evening the Seminary community gathered with the sons and the daughters of Our Lady of the Presentation community to honor a beloved son with the blessing of the Bishop John Michael D'Arcy Conference Room in the Seminary Lecture Hall and Library.  Almost two hundred "Pressies" joined us for the blessing, followed by the first annual Our Lady of the Presentation Picnic.

I welcomed those present with these words:

I welcome you.  In the name of the Church, in the name of Cardinal O’Malley who is still on the shores of that isle where Michael D'Arcy and Margaret Moran first learned how to pray, and I welcome you in the name of Saint John’s Seminary, whose campus at Our Lady of the Presentation is the newest and shiniest jewel the crown of a Seminary from which have come more than three thousand priests over thew past one hundred and thirteen years.
I’m so grateful to so many at this moment.  For without Rich and Chris and John and Sandy and Annie and Bill this day would not be possible.  But in a most particular way I want to thank all our benefactors and especially the D'Arcy family for making this special honor for their beloved Bishop John D'Arcy possible.  You are so very proud of him, but always remember how proud he was of each and every one of you!  And so I would ask Sr. Anne D'Arcy to offer a few words on behalf of the family.

Then Sister Anne D'Arcy, CSJ shared these beautiful words on behalf of the D'Arcy family:

It is a joy to be here in this beloved church of Our Lady of the Presentation, the spiritual home of our family for so many years. It was here that our parents, Michael John and Margaret Moran D’Arcy, were married in 1930. It was in this church where each of us, Mary, John, Joan and myself received all our sacraments. This is where John celebrated his first Mass in 1957 and officiated at the marriage of Joan and Hugh in 1965. It is also where he celebrated the funeral Masses of our parents.
We are here today with gratitude to Monsignor Moroney, Rector of Saint John’s Seminary, to dedicate this conference room to our brother, Bishop John Michael D’Arcy, on the anniversary of his birth, August 18, 1932. John was baptized here on September 4, 1932. On the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 2007 he returned here to pray in Thanksgiving for the graces which began at his baptism.

As Bishop, John fell in love with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He felt a bishop should be married to his diocese. He wrote to the Apostolic Nuncio requesting not to be transferred. But he never forgot Brighton.

In one of his columns in the diocesan paper of Fort Wayne, John wrote about growing up in Brighton. He said, “on one end of Brighton on a high hill was Our Lady of the Presentation church, on the other end, also on a high hill, was Saint John’s Seminary. I grew up in the shadow of those places.” He added, “It seems our lives were church, home, the ballpark and, for me, there was my father’s store.”.

It is fitting that this church he so loved is now part of Saint John’s Seminary. We know John’s special love for the priesthood, first as a parish priest at St. Mary’s Beverly, then as Spiritual Director at Saint John’s Seminary, where he helped prepare men for priesthood.

As Auxiliary Bishop of Boston he founded the Office of Spiritual Development, now 38 years later known as the Office of Spritual Life. Finally, as Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese he sent his own seminarians from Indiana to Saint John’s to prepare for the priesthood because he knew what a great seminary it is.

John is buried in the crypt beneath the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Fort Wayne and we are honored today to have his trusted assistant, Maureen Schott, with us all the way from Fort Wayne. When he died, the Indiana assembly recognized his zeal for the priesthood and passed a resolution acclaiming it. It is here today and I hope you will read it.

We thank God for the gift John was in our life and the lives of so many. As we celebrate his life, we pray that the love and joy of Christ he shared with all may inspire others to follow Christ more closely.

Following Sister's remarks,  I offered these brief words and a blessing:

Two and a half years ago, the Church lost one of her most loyal sons.  And Brighton was his home. 
Having survived living with three sisters, John was ordained from Saint John’s Seminary, where he would later serve as Director of Spiritual Life for fifteen years.
I still remember the letter he wrote to me when I was named Rector of Saint John’s.  With it, he included a half inch thick collection of articles and commentaries on Seminary formation in the twenty-first century.  “It won’t be easy,” he wrote, “but the Seminary does just about the most important work of the Church.” 
Bishop John D’Arcy is most famous for always telling the truth, whether to prelates or presidents. “I think I did with my life what God wanted me to do,” he said on the occasion of his retirement, with typical modesty, candor and faith. 
Cardinal O’Malley eulogized him as “a good and compassionate priest,” which is why we name this Seminary Conference room for him today.  For, when Seminarians meet here, I want them to be inspired by his love for the truth, and his courage to speak it.  When Diocesan officials meet here, I want them to remember his love for the Lord and for his holy Church.  
And when we meet here, I want us to remember that he is a son of Brighton, he was one of us: the faithful, who like the Blessed Virgin know our littleness but also know the great things God can do with us.  We are a people who will never abandon the faith of our fathers and our mothers, which came over on a boat with our parents and grandparents and which lives in each and every one of us today. 
So, welcome to the blessing of the Bishop John D'Arcy Conference Room at Saint John’s Seminary, Our Lady of the Presentation Campus, and welcome to the first annual “Pressie picnic” (however you spell Pressie).  Now pray with me, that God who blessed his Church with John D'Arcy will bless this room for the service of the Seminary and the Church and this Community for years to come! 

Let us pray.  
God of mercy and truth,  you sent your only Son to be our Savior and Lord.  He calls us together as his Church to carry out the work of salvation. 
We ask you now to bless us and all who will use this Conference Room.  May all who come here know the presence of Christ, experience the joy of his friendship, and grow in his love. 
Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Battle Not for Sissies

I preached the following homily at my mother’s nursing home this morning, Notre Dame Longterm Healthcare in Worcester.  It was on Judges 6, where an angel appears to Gideon and asks him to lead Israel in its battle with the Midianites.

The first reading today is strange,  You have an angel coming to Gideon and telling him that he will be a great champion of the Lord, and that only little Gideon can defeat the mighty Midianites….But Gideon is confused.  He is a wimpy little guy, in a family about to flee for their lives.  He is the last person God should have chosen for an epic battle.  Like little David the ruddiest Son of Jessie, or Mary the Virgin, or Peter the sinner or even the Son of the Living God reigning from a manger as a weak little baby; it seemed crazy to think that Gideon could be God’s champion.

And it is like that with you.  Great men and women who you are.  You’ve brought up children, taught in schools, some of you have been principals, diocesan officials, some champions of industry, great intellects and noble citizens of Worcester.  

And now you are often sick and sometimes weak or in great pain.  Sometimes you get confused and sometimes its like there’s a frustrating fog floating about your head.  It’s tough to get old.  It’s like Bette Davis used to say: “Old age ain't no place for sissies.”

But here you are in this house of our Lady, Notre Dame, and God has given you, little Gideon, a great battle to fight.  It’s sometimes a battle against sickness, and sometimes against despair.  Sometimes a battle against disease pain, and sometimes a battle against loneliness or the sense that God is done with you.

But God is not done with you.  Indeed, for your whole life he has been preparing you for this one great battle: against the darkness of the devil, a battle against the fear with which Satan tempts us, the same battle fought by Mary at the foot of the Cross, or Saint Teresa in her illness or so many of the saints when they reached a ripe old age.

“Gray hair.” the Bible tells us, “is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness”  With righteousness in your right hand and your perduring faith in the left, fight the good fight, my dear brothers and sisters, and teach us, your younger daughters and sons, what it means to follow the Lord.

And, by the way, Gideon won the battle.  As you can too.

Vatican III in the Adirondacks

Just got word of a reported sighting of our very own Jazz Trio, Vatican III, in a café in the Adirondacks!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Memories of summer vacation...

I was in Maine last week and I'm still grateful for the beauty of the ocean and the weather and friendship.  Here's a short video of the ocean I brought back as a memory of a great week of vacation.

Getting Ready...

All the windows are washed, inside and out.  A crane arrives this week to move the enormous conference table in Bishop Cheverus room (in the basement) to the Cardinal Law Room (on the third floor).  Most of the seminarian rooms have been painted, orientation mailings have gone out and we're into the last few rounds of admissions interviews.  The Calendar has been set and the new Trustees Handbook is in print.  The agenda is ready for the extended Faculty Advisory Council meetings and the duck boat tour has been booked.  Transportation and accomodations for the Papal Mass in Washington D.C. are complete.  The final adjustments to class schedules are done and the ornamental pipes have been installed in the new organ.

We're getting ready for our 29 new seminarians (most new men in over a decade!) and the "old men" as well!

Please keep the new seminarians in your prayers, along with all the folks who work behind the scenes to paint and plan, budget and balance and get everything ready to welcome everyone home to this holy house!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The First Voice...

The first rank of pipes on our new Chapel Organ have been completed, and Dr. Janet Hunt has kindly given them voice in this short video.