Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Boston Seminarians in Rome

This evening I had a delightful dinner with some Boston Seminarians and Priests while visiting Rome for a few days of meetings on Seminary and Vox Clara business.  I was also privileged to be present for the conclusion of the Synod on the Family a few days ago.  Tomorrow I head to Assisi where I look forward to praying for all the members of the Saint John's Seminary community at the tomb of Saint Francis.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Knights of Malta at Saint John's Seminary

We were honored to welcome more than one hundred men and women from the Order of Malta to Saint John's Seminary this evening.  Cardinal O'Malley celebrated Mass with the Knights and Ladies and the Seminary community.  A dinner followed, including a reflection on the Humanity of Jesus by Father James Martin, SJ.  We are always delighted to welcome the Order of Malta to Saint John's and give thanks to God for their work on behalf of the poor, the sick and the good of the Church.

A Pre-Theology Pyramid

Mid-term exams bring out the acrobatic in seminarians, as evidenced by this Pre-Theology I Pyramid reported earlier this evening in the common room!

The Great Pumpkin

On the window sill in the great hall sits a pumpkin, a recollection of the great victory of the SJS Softball team last week.  All the team members have signed it.  

They, and our soccer team and all the seminarians are deep into mid-term exams this week, cramming their notes as they walk by.  Tonight the second floor took a bit of a break for the last of the Dessert Receptions in the rector's apartment.  Tomorrow all the men will join Cardinal O'Malley and the Order of Malta for a Mass in remembrance of Pope Saint John Paul II.  

But tonight, if you walk down the darkened great hall, the moonlight reveals the spectral presence of the great pumpkin, a symbol, of sorts, of the great joy which so infects this holy house (even during mid-term exams).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SJS Soccer

Last night it was very cold, but the warmth of the determination of the SJS Soccer team kept BC Memorial Field alive!  While we lost by a single goal in overtime, our team played magnificently.  Congratulations on a game so well played!

Monday, October 19, 2015

SJS Golf Tournament is a Great Success!

Thanks to all who made our 14th Annual SJS Golf Tournament such a great success!  Despite the chill in the shade, it was a magnificent day in the sun and the Banquet and Auction were second to none!  

Apple Picking with First Pre-Theo and the Missionaries of Charity

Here are some photo's from Saturday’s Service day with the First Pre-Theologians who joined the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity (Dorchester & New Bedford) to take more than eighty inner-city kids apple-picking in the Berlin Orchards Farm.  Thanks to our good friends Gerard & Sheila Beirne and their eleven children for all their help!. It was a great day for all!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Pictures from the SJS Softball Victory...

Here is the full team with the well earned trophy!  Congratulations!

The Rector of J23, Father Bill Pillardy, graciously presents the trophy to SJS following the impressive victory of our team!


On the Death of Saint Isaac Jogues

This is my homily for 19 October 2015 on the Feast of the North American martyrs.

At the age of twenty, Carlo Spinola entered the Jesuits in Genoa and was soon sent to Milan for pre-Theology due to his ill health.  From his first days he begged to be sent to the missions, but his superiors hesitated due to his many sicknesses.  In fact, it was not until twelve years later that he was assigned to the missions in Japan. 

So he set sail from Genoa, where his ship hit a rock and had to return to port. The second time he left they arrived in Barcelona, but there he was then forced to walk 774 miles to Lisbon, where he boarded a ship that was so buffeted by storms that he ended up in Brazil, slowly crossing back across the Atlantic to where he had begun.

When they set out a third time they were captured by English pirates and imprisoned in England for several months.  He escaped and headed back to Lisbon for a fourth departure and finally, two years after he has begun, he arrived in the Philippines.  It took him another four years to reach Japan, but I will spare you the details of that delay.  

For twelve years Father Spinola taught mathematics and astronomy and preached the Gospel in Japan, until the presence of foreign missionaries was outlawed and he and a hand full of his fellow Jesuits chose to go underground. He managed to elude the priest-hunters for four years, going out only after dark.  When he was captured, he was imprisoned in a small cage exposed to the elements for two years until he was sentenced to death.

On the day of his martyrdom, he and his fellow missionaries were tied to stakes to suffer death by "slow fire." After they lit the flames, he could be heard singing Psalm 117 until he died:  “O praise the LORD, all you nations; acclaim him, all you peoples! For his merciful love has prevailed over us; and the LORDʼs faithfulness endures forever.”

Meanwhile, back in France, the young novice Isaac Jogues entered the Jesuits and began to read the story of Blessed Carlo Spinola.  He was so inspired by the story of the Martyrs of Japan that he carried a little holy card depicting the saint in his cassock pocket, not unlike the ones so many of you hang outside your rooms today.  His one desire was to offer his life with Christ on the Cross and Father Spinola in the missions.  It was a desire God granted him twice.

For at the same age as Spinola, Father Isaac Jogues was sent to New France, which we know today as Quebec and Upstate New York, where he was captured and tortured.  Three of his fingers were slowly crushed by chewing and smashing and finally hacked off with sharp sea shells.  Remarkably he managed to escape and return home, where he was acclaimed a "living martyr.”

All of his friends and his family and even many of the Jesuits urged him to stay in France, but he didn’t.  All he could talk about was returning to the missions where he had suffered so terribly and almost lost his life. 

Why did he want to go back?  That was very much on my mind this summer when I spent a day at the Shrine in Auriesville, New York where they killed him.  I’ve been there many many times, but this time all I could think of was “Why?.…Why did he want to go back?”

And then I remembered that holy card he carried in his pocket.  That’s why he went back! Because, like Father Spinola, all Isaac wanted was to give his life away and to join it with the Cross.

So he returned to New France, and two years later he walked the same road of sorrows once trod by the man whose holy card he carried in his pocket, joining his life and his death to the perfect sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross.

And thus it will be, my brothers, for the man who seeks only what matters to God, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of his life.

Congratulations to the Champions!

Congratulations to the SJS Softball Team, which defeated the John XXIII "Relics" by a score of 15-10 this afternoon.  Here are a few pictures.  More to come in the morning.  For now, let it suffice to say, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!