Priest Appreciation 2011

September 20, 2011

Boston’s Celebration of the Priesthood dinner is this Thursday, September 22, and for the second year, we are inviting you to “shout out” your appreciation to a priest in the comments section of the blog.

The Boston Pilot reports the following about the dinner and fundraising efforts:

On Sept. 22, the Archdiocese of Boston will host the Celebration of the Priesthood, its third annual dinner in recognition of priests, at the Seaport World Trade Center.

The proceeds of the event will directly benefit the Clergy Funds, which supports the health, financial and retirement benefits of the nearly 700 active and senior priests in the archdiocese.

“The Celebration of the Priesthood is an annual event that honors the priests who serve in our parishes, ministries, and communities. They bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to our Catholic family and ask for little in return. We owe it to them to continue to do what we can to raise the critical funds that support the costs associated with maintaining their health and well-being throughout their ministry and into their senior years,” said Father Richard Erikson, former vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese.

Although BCI still has concerns with the manner in which the Archdiocese treats the presbyterate–including the new 401K-style retirement plan in the works for clergy–BCI has tremendous admiration for the faithful, dedicated priests in Boston who give their lives to God and do so much–particularly in ministry at the local parish level and at colleges, hospitals, and with the poor–to continue the works and saving ministry of Jesus Christ  and to make His name known and loved.

Towards that end, we are asking our readers to do two things today and over the next few days.

First,  we invite you to “shout out” a compliment for a Boston priest via comments on this blog, and spread the word about the priest appreciation “shout out.”   Suggested guidelines for those comments of appreciation can be found below.

Secondly, we invite you to pray this prayer for priests by St. Therese of Lisieux.

Prayer for Priests

O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation
here and in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

Guidelines for Shouting Out Appreciation to Clergy

  • You may identify the priest as “Fr. A”, or you can mention his full name.  If a priest’s name is mentioned, that does not mean that the priest should be seen as associated with this blog in any way, that you or the priest is endorsing or supporting this blog, or that the priest is even aware of this blog.  It simply means that someone who knows the priest appreciates the good work of that priest and thought this was a useful venue for expressing that appreciation.
  • You are welcome to include a short sentence or two indicating why you are grateful to this priest.
  • Please post comments only about priests who are in active ministry today or in senior priest status.
  • You can use your real name, first name and last initial, or post anonymously—it does not matter.
  • Responses to comments of clergy appreciation are OK only if you are agreeing with it and saying something positive.  If you have something negative to say about a priest who has been complimented, please do not post it here, as that will force us to moderate and clear every post from that point forward.

Please, no comments on this post about anything other than apprecition for specific priests.


Mass Bishops Statement on Casino Gambling Legislation…Finally

September 16, 2011

Today, at long last, the Massachusetts Catholic bishops issued a statement regarding the issue of legalized casino gambling.  This statement comes, of course, almost two days AFTER the Massachusetts House voted in favor of the legislation.  The issue of gambling was known to the current MCC Executive Director, James Driscoll, as a “big issue” when he took the job in April.  So when do the bishops issue a statement?  After the horses have already raced out of the barn. The Mass Catholic Conference finally sent their alert out Tuesday afternoon asking people to contact legislators and the Governor, giving people precious little time to do so prior to the House debate and vote on Wednesday. 

Below is the statement from the bishops. BCI is glad to see at long last they came out with such a statement. People should definitely contact their state senators and the Governor to try and stop the legislation from going forward. And pray that the legislators will see the light of day before giving this their final approval.


For Immediate Release

DATE:   September 16, 2011


James F. Driscoll
Executive Director, Massachusetts Catholic Conference

Today, the issue of expanded gambling within the Commonwealth has once again come to the forefront of the public arena.  We, the four bishops of the four dioceses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, again feel compelled to oppose the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts.

We understand that these are difficult times for many families within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The unemployment rate remains high, currently at 7.4% percent, thousands of families continue to rely upon state assistance to survive, and more and more people are facing the harsh realities of poverty.  Naturally, the state is searching for new ways to increase revenue and create jobs aimed at meeting these difficult challenges and to bring about economic stimuli.  However, expanded gambling in the form of slot parlors and casinos is an illusory solution to this complicated problem.   If anything, expanded, predatory gambling will only add to the need for state assistance in the Commonwealth. 

While the Catholic Church views gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment when done in moderation, the gaming legislation opens the door to a new form of predatory gaming which threatens the moral fabric of our society.  We are concerned that the Commonwealth’s reliance on gambling revenue continues to escalate.  This reliance upon an unstable form of revenue, which has been shrinking in other states, would depend upon those who are addicted to gambling, many of whom are already among the ranks of the poorest in the community. 

Many of our churches, schools, and other non-profit organizations rely upon bingo and other games-of-chance for relatively small amounts of revenue.  We hope the citizens of the Commonwealth will recognize the difference between a local fund-raiser managed by volunteers and a multi-billion dollar industry that exploits vulnerable members of the community for financial gain. 

The gambling industry can threaten local business and change the entire make-up of communities.  If Massachusetts were to pass the proposed gambling legislation and open the door for casinos and slot parlors in our state, it could diminish our rich heritage and history as a Commonwealth.  There is too much at stake for Massachusetts to open the door to expanded gambling. 

We urge the Massachusetts State Senate not to follow the lead of their colleagues in the House of Representatives, but vote against the expansion of predatory gambling. 

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Archbishop
Archdiocese of Boston

Most Rev. George W. Coleman, Bishop
Diocese of Fall River

Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, Bishop                                                       
Diocese of Springfield

Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop
Diocese of Worcester

Abp. Charles J. Chaput: We bishops can be true bishops…or “just empty husks”

September 11, 2011

Last Thursday, Archbishop Charles Chaput was installed as the thirteenth ordinary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. His predecessors include St. John Neumann (1852-60), and, in more recent times, Cardinals John Krol (1961-88), Anthony Bevilacqua (1988-2003), and Justin Rigali (2003-11).  Cardinal O’Malley was in attendance.  Ignatius Insight Scoop shared these excerpts from his homily:

Along with a ring, two other symbols really define a bishop’s ministry.   The first is the pectoral cross that rests next to the bishop’s heart.   And Jesus tells us that if we want to be his disciples, we need to do  three things (Mt 16:21-27): We need deny ourselves, we need to take up  our cross, and we need to follow him.  It’s vitally important for the  bishop to really believe this, and to live it, and to preach it, even  when calling people to accept it is very difficult, because it’s  difficult to be faithful to the Gospel.

The second symbol is the crosier, which is a symbol of the shepherd.   The Good Shepherd was the first image of Christian art created by the  earliest disciples in the catacombs in Rome.  One of first  representations of Jesus we have is the Good Shepherd who carries a lamb  on his shoulders.  All of us, especially the people of Philadelphia,  should keep that image in our hearts in the months ahead because the  Good Shepherd really will bring the Church in Philadelphia through this difficult moment in our history to security and joy and a better future.

This  installation today takes place in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints  Peter and Paul.  The word cathedral comes from the Greek word cathedra,  which means “the chair.”  The cathedral is the church that houses the  bishop’s chair, which has always been seen as another key symbol of the  bishop’s role – in this case, his teaching authority.  St. Augustine of  Hippo, speaking in the 4th century captured the role of the bishop in  these words. He said:

“Jerusalem had watchmen who stood guard . .  . And this is what bishops do.  Now, bishops are assigned this higher  place” — the bishop’s chair in the basilica – “so that they themselves  may oversee and, as it were, keep watch over the people.  For they are  called episkopos in Greek,  which means ‘overseer,’ because the bishop oversees; because he looks  down from [his chair] . . . And on account of this high place, a  perilous accounting will have to be rendered [by the bishop] – unless we  stand here with a heart such that we place ourselves beneath your feet  in humility.” …

My dear brother bishops, it’s crucial for those of us who are bishops not simply to look like bishops but to truly be  bishops.  Otherwise, we’re just empty husks — the kind of men St  Augustine referred to when he said, “You say, ‘He must be a bishop for  he sits upon the cathedra.’  True – and a scarecrow might be called a watchman in the vineyard.” …

This Church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days.   There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us  here today, except the Lord Himself, is a miracle worker.  But it’s  important to remember and to believe the Church is not defined by her failures. And you and I are not defined by our critics or by those who dislike  us.  What we do in the coming months and years to respond to these  challenges – that will define  who we really are.  And in engaging that work, we need to be Catholics  first, and always.  Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, and the  Church is our mother and teacher.  Everything we do should flow from  that.

The entire homily, including video, is here at Whispers in the Loggia.  According to Catholic Philly, the Cardinals present for the Mass were:

Cardinal Justin Rigali; Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Cardinal James Stafford, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary and Archbishop Emeritus of Denver; Cardinal William Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore; Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles; Cardinal John Foley, Grand Master Emeritus, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.

Readers, please note: following our next post, BCI will be blogging infrequently over the course of the next month to attend to some other responsibilities and pressing personal matters.  We will also be slow to respond to emails. If you are a regular reader and are not subscribed to the blog, we suggest you enter your email address in the box to the right and subscribe so you will receive copies of our posts via email.  We apologize for the slowdown, but it is necessary.

Catholic Conference Calm on Casinos

September 8, 2011

In our last post, we said the front page of the most recent edition of The Pilot raised eyebrows at BCI for two reasons.  The first of those was the CNS article about the U.S. Labor Secretary that failed to mention she was pro-abortion.  The second reason was this article, “Governor, legislative leadership announce casino bill.”  Our issue concerns the apparent lackluster response to this legislation by the Massachusetts Catholic Conference.

There are many reasons cited in the article for every citizen–Catholic or non-Catholic–to oppose casino gambling:

  • The only [cost-benefit] study, produced by the gaming industry in 2008, expects that the state’s current economic woes will be in the past by the time casinos arrive. It does not factor in the consequences of other bordering states like New York and New Hampshire legalizing casinos. It also does not consider the social costs of excessive gambling. Critics say that these oversights lead the study to greatly overestimate revenue and job creation.
  • In Massachusetts, the leadership’s casino bill proposes that 25 percent of revenues would go to the commonwealth. The projected amount of $400 million predicts that there will be $1.6 billion in total revenues. Critics say that even considering a sizable recapture of funds spent by Massachusetts gamblers in out-of-state casinos, residents would still need to gamble and lose more than $1 billion. That amount is neither realistic nor prudent, they say.
  • “Casinos represent the most predatory business in America today because they are based on pushing people into deeper debt,” Les Bernal, executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling, said. “Government needs to get out of the predatory gambling business….states should be encouraging their citizens to save money and get out of debt, not to rack up credit card debt on slot machines.
  • The website for United to Stop the Slots in Massachusetts (USS Mass) says casinos and slots prey on the addicted, gaining the highest profits from the few who visit frequently and lose the most money. Somewhere between 70-90 percent of casinos’ profits come from 10 percent of gamblers. Studies have shown that five years after a casino opens, the neighborhood sees an increase in robberies by 136 percent, aggravated assaults by 91 percent, auto theft by 78 percent, burglary 50 percent, larceny 38 percent and rape 21 percent. They have also shown that within a 50-mile radius, addiction to gambling doubles.

Two Op-Ed pieces in the Boston Globe criticized the legislation.  In “Beacon Hill surrenders to casinos,” we heard:

“The capitulation to expanded gambling in Massachusetts represents a failure of imagination and will…Gambling revenue – like user fees, naming rights, specialty license plates, and other forms of “voluntary’’ contributions to government – erodes a fundamental idea of democracy: that we’re all in this together….it asks the most from those who can afford it least…Gambling is “a tax on people who are bad at math.

Jobs are good, but casinos don’t so much create jobs as replace them, cannibalizing other local businesses to benefit some corporate giant in Vegas or Malaysia. For every Foxwoods in isolated Ledyard, Conn., there is an Atlantic City, hollowed out except for the pawn shops.

And gambling addictions plague not just individuals; states can also get hooked on the revenues. Once they become dependent, states are vulnerable to increasing demands from their casino kingpins, whether it’s larger profits or looser regulations. Bet on it.

In “Casino bill is deeply flawed; rank and file should kill it” we hear complaints about specifics of the legislation, including that slot parlors, “create relatively few jobs and are one of the most addictive forms of gambling,” the plan to direct 9% of revenues from the slots parlor to subsidize purses at horse tracks, provisions that would prevent the City of Boston from voting on gambling at Suffolk Downs, and other special interest provisions.

“After years of false starts, legislative leaders and Governor Patrick hammered out a new agreement behind closed doors last month to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts. It’s a deeply disappointing bill, full of just the kind of inside deals and special-interest giveaways that Patrick once vowed to fight. Now it’s up to rank-and-file lawmakers to reject the plan….

If Massachusetts is going to embrace an industry with a history of sparking public corruption and attracting organized crime, the state’s legal framework must be above reproach. It’s widely assumed that the Legislature will bow to the leadership and support the deal. But lawmakers need to stand up for the greater good.”

This Globe article describes how the legislation was crafted behind closed doors:

Casino opponents, outnumbered in the Legislature, criticized lawmakers for writing the bill behind closed doors and for not conducting a fresh cost-benefit analysis.

“Fundamentally, I believe this represents a tax on the poor,’’ said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat. “I don’t deny at all that there are some benefits that would come to the state. The question is, do those benefits outweigh the costs? And I don’t believe they will.’’…

Patrick is now a year removed from a tough reelection fight that prompted him to temper his support for gambling to appeal to liberals who oppose casinos. For months, he and his aides have worked closely and behind closed doors with DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray to draft the latest proposal.

The private talks effectively sidelined critics, who accused the governor and lawmakers of wiring the bill for passage before it even hits the floor of the House and Senate for debate next month.

“Just the brazen, almost arrogance to the taxpayers that this is how Beacon Hill conducts business,’’ said Kathleen Conley Norbut, an antigambling activist from Monson. “It’s a special-interest-driven political proposal that leadership has crafted, yet the impacts to the people who live in the region and who pay taxes are still not clearly vetted.’’

But legislative leaders defended their approach, saying they want to prevent another bitter public battle.

So, in view of all this, what does the new Executive Director of the Mass Catholic Conference say about this? According to The Pilot:

James Driscoll, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference (MCC), said the state’s Catholic bishops have always been “adamantly opposed to expanded gaming.” Any upside of such gambling is outweighed by its social costs, he said.

Opponents of Class 3 gaming continue to call for an independent cost-benefits analysis, but a bill requiring such a study has received little attention. SB150, filed by Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) on Jan. 19, asks for a qualified research institution to look into all outcomes for the state and individual communities.

But, Jimmy, what are you and the Catholic Conference DOING about this? Are you meeting with the House Speaker, the Senate President and other legislators?  What is our plan to oppose this? If it is important for there to be an independent cost-benefits analysis, why has MCC never asked Catholics to contact legislators to support the bill calling for the study?  A good way for something to get little attention is for no one to call attention to it.  People who get the MCC email alerts say they have heard nothing from MCC about gambling this year.  The last email was in July, concerning support for homeless youth.  Maybe there is a big plan to mobilize Catholics to call for the cost-benefits analysis and to oppose this legislation, but if there is, the article says nothing about it. The absence of any communication from Driscoll towards this end, including the absence of any email communications to Catholics, leave the impression that the Catholic Conference and Massachusetts bishops are planning to do nothing. Hopefully, that is not the case, but the absence of communications give that impression.

At least the President of the Mass Family Institute, is quoted in the article as saying, “He and others urged voters to call the governor and their elected representatives.”

When James Driscoll was announced as the new Executive Director of MCC, an AP article in the Boston Herald reported the following:

Massachusetts is a heavily Catholic state whose lawmakers have shown a consistent willingness to defy the church on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Right now, lawmakers are considering bringing legislation that would legalize casinos and slot machines in Massachusetts, a move the church opposes and an issue Driscoll said will likely be big from the start of his new job.  He rejected the notion that the church has a diminished voice among lawmakers…

BCI wrote at the time in this blog post: “His new role lobbying against gambling should be interesting after he spent 19 years as the general counsel responsible for defending the lottery.”

Even a teenager writing a letter to the Globe has communicated more words on this issue than MCC has to its constituents.  The teen wrote:

Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature need to get their morals straight. They understand the downsides of casino gambling, and it is irresponsible for them as leaders to shamelessly promote casinos as good for the Commonwealth.

Instead of stopping the casino bill, government officials are being swayed by the short-term gains of increased revenues and jobs. As for the opponents of the casinos, it is too bad if they are getting “tired’’ of the fight. If protecting the Commonwealth from legalized gambling is worth fighting for, they should keep going. It is the responsibility of the few casino opponents to continue to debate the issue in the Legislature.

Gambling is an addiction. Compulsive gamblers fail to realize that, inevitably, they will lose more than they will win.

James Driscoll collects a nice six-figure salary. He, coincidentally, is the first cousin of Kevin Driscoll, husband of six-figure-salaried Secretary of Institutional Advancement, Kathleen Driscoll.  Kevin and Kathleen sit on the Board of Catholic Charities together with James Brett, who, coincidentally, was one of the 5 members of the search committee that selected James Driscoll.  One might think James Driscoll would be eager to prove that he came into the job on his own merits and without the help of a family connection. Given James Driscoll knew the gambling issue would “likely be big from the start of his new job,” in the opinion of BCI, he is not off to a very big start as far as leading opposition to this legislation and calling for the cost-benefits study.

The absence of MCC communications give the impression–perhaps inaccurate–that the guy who defended the state lottery for 19 years is not doing much on this issue. Casino gambling is not just a “Catholic” issue–it is an issue for the common good. For the benefit of the citizens of the commonwealth, we need Mr. Driscoll and the Massachusetts bishops to not surrender on this issue. It seems to BCI that at minimum, weekly email communications and a call to action with instructions for people to contact their legislators should be in the plan. If BCI, for free, can post a few blogs a week, surely a paid staff of 3-4 people at MCC charged with communicating the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops could at least send out an email or two on such an important issue. If they need help communicating their plan and call-to-action, they can let us know and we are glad to help here at BCI.

Hopefully there is a plan in the works. We will wait and see…

Boston Pilot Front Page Problems

September 4, 2011

A few eyebrows were raised at BCI upon seeing the front page of the current issue of The Pilot.  We will cover the issues in two parts. The first concerns the article, “Labor secretary says parents’ example of faith, hard work shaped her,” which highlighted the “Catholic faith” that motivates Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, but failed to mention she is pro-abortion.

As most BCI readers know, BCI primarily focuses on governance issues and typically stays out of ideological issues because there are many other blogs that make those their focus. But sometimes we find that something rather obvious hits us in the face, and after prayerful consideration we may decide to cover the factual information about the situation.  Today is one of those.

The article (or better put, a “puff piece”), “Labor secretary says parents’ example of faith, hard work shaped her“, comes from Catholic News Service (CNS), a financially and editorially independent division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here is how CatholicCulture critiqued the piece:

In an article that is appearing in diocesan newspapers across the United States, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is presented as a model Catholic politician. The article begins:

The office of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis includes images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a glass crucifix and a sculpture of Mary and Jesus. Her Catholic faith, she said, “is a part of my life. My faith is what motivates me.”

The lessons her faith teaches about hope, about helping others, about seeking higher things is something woven into the fabric of her daily life, she said. “I do it in a quiet way,” she said.

The laudatory profile by Catholic News Service, an independent division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, fails to mention Solis’s record on the sanctity of life: she has earned a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America for her uncompromising support of legalized abortion.

Catholic World Report opined:

“…this glowing account of a Catholic public servant fails to mention a couple facts about her time in office, including her 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America (and a corresponding 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee).

A few seconds spent with a Google search on “Hilda solis abortion” get these results:

Click the first link to and you will see that this is not necessarily someone who should be held up on a pedestal as the role model of a Catholic politician in public life:

* Voted “yes” on allowing and expanding embryonic stem cell research
* Voted “no”on the federal partial-birth abortion ban
* Voted “no” on restricting interstate transportation of minors for abortions
* Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime
* Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life
* Recommended by EMILY’s List of pro-choice women
* Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record
* Rated 0% by the National Right to Life Committee, indicating a pro-choice stance

In addition, Solis, along with 47 other Catholic members of Congress, sent a letter in 2006 to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington D.C. in order to dissuade him from refusing them the sacraments because of their pro-choice legislative voting. Solis signed a “Statement of Principles,” released to the public on February 28, 2006, which affirmed Catholic Democrats’ commitment to their faith as well as disagreement with the Roman Catholic Church on some issues. They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they decided to follow their conscience instead of the Church teachings.

No mention of the above facts is found in the Catholic News Service profile of Solis, republished by The Pilot.

Catholic World Report concluded, “What a pity that of the many faithful Catholic public servants working tirelessly to promote authentic human flourishing in our country, CNS decided to highlight one who has demonstrated such a lack of concern for the most vulnerable among us, especially as we head into the Labor Day weekend.”

BCI feels criticism lies with CNS, but it also lies with the editors of The Pilot for running the CNS piece. Although the article was not written by The Pilot, someone at The Pilot decided to run it, and to run it on the front page of the paper where it gets the most prominent attention. How does The Pilot vet CNS articles and decide whether or not to run them?  How do editors at The Pilot and other diocesan newspapers send a clear message to CNS that this sort of “Catholic journalism” is misleading to faithful Catholics?

BCI will write to both The Pilot and CNS to ask for their response to these concerns, but you can and should as well. Write to Tony Spence, director and editor-in-chief at CNS at: tspence(at) and Antonio Enrique, editor of The Pilot at editorial(at)

Note: this post is about the matter of the publishing of this article, and this post is not about whether bishops should refuse Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians. Please do not go in the latter direction in your comments.

Welcome New Vicar General: Msgr. Robert Deeley

September 1, 2011

This morning, an email was sent to the priests of the Boston Archdiocese from Fr. Bryan Parrish, assistant Vicar for administration, with a letter from the new Vicar General, Msgr. Deeley.

BCI is pleased to offer our warmest welcome to Msgr. Deeley!  Below is the email sent out this morning. The communication speaks for itself, and BCI will let the letter stand on its own without any commentary from us, except for mere reiteration of one point.

Msgr. Deeley said in his message, “I humbly ask for the prayers of all the faithful in the Archdiocese, clergy, religious and laity, as we work together in continuing the work entrusted to us by Christ.”  We suggest all BCI readers pray for the success of Msgr. Deeley in his new role.  If each reader could make the time to pray a Rosary for him over the holiday weekend and offer even just a Rosary a week for the intention of his service and assistance with the governance of the archdiocese, we have no doubt that the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary will make a difference.

Here is the communication from Msgr. Deeley:

Good Morning,

Today, September 1st, marks the beginning of a new assignment for me in the service of the Archdiocese of Boston as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.  With this appointment Cardinal Seán has asked me to assist him in the governance of the whole Archdiocese, a request I have willingly accepted. As I begin that great responsibility, I want to thank His Eminence for the trust he places in me asking me to serve the Church in Boston in this way.

Before speaking of my new ministry, however, I want first to thank Fr. Richard Erikson, who has just completed five years of dedicated service to the Archdiocese in this same position as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.  Fr. Erikson has been generous to me with his time and assistance during this transition.  It is a reminder for me of how unselfishly he has given himself to all of us in promoting the good of the Archdiocese during the years of his leadership.  These years have shown us the goodness of his priestly heart.  His love for Christ has been evident in his unwavering commitment to the good of the Church in Boston.  This extraordinary dedication has been a blessing for our Archdiocese.   I hope now that his time of renewal in Rome at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College will be rich, and will provide a well deserved sabbatical.  I am confident that I speak for all in the Archdiocese as I thank him for his dedicated and gifted service and assure him that we look forward to his return home later this year.

As I now succeed Rev. Erikson I am able to see how much has been accomplished during these first eight years of Cardinal Seán’s leadership as Archbishop.  He has led a vigorous effort to heal and rebuild our local Church.  I ask you to continue to pray for the Cardinal as he leads and governs this Church in Boston as Shepherd and Teacher. In this new assignment, I pledge my commitment to serve him and the entire Archdiocese to the best of my abilities. I humbly ask for the prayers of all the faithful in the Archdiocese, clergy, religious and laity, as we work together in continuing the work entrusted to us by Christ.

Over these last few weeks, since my return to Boston from Rome, I have enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with my family and friends.  I have also had the chance to be with many priests, who have reminded me of how blessed we are in the service of these good priests in our Archdiocese. The dedication of these men in nurturing the relationship of the faithful to Jesus Christ in a time when there are less of them to continue this ministry is edifying.  They serve the people of the Archdiocese generously.  I encourage you to pray for them, and pray as well for vocations, so that their number might be increased.  I look forward over the next several months to traveling around the Archdiocese and meeting with the priests to hear of the joys of their ministry as well as the challenges they are encountering.  In my work in the Archdiocese I will be trying to be as supportive of their essential ministry as I can.

To our Pastoral Center staff and those of the various ministries across the Archdiocese, as well as our deacons and our consecrated women and men, that work to support our parishes, schools and related agencies, please know that I am deeply grateful for your dedicated commitment to the Church.  In so many ways, you have faced numerous pastoral challenges these past few years.  All of us in the Archdiocese need to be thankful for your outstanding service.  I look forward to working with you, as we strive together to rebuild and reinvigorate the Archdiocese of Boston in accord with the vision of Cardinal Seán.

These past years of work in Rome have given me a unique opportunity to be near His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.  I could not help but note that, whatever the difficulty he encounters, or the problem that arises, he is always confident in the grace of Christ.  The word that most captures the spirit of Benedict XVI is “joy”.  He teaches us to place our hope in Jesus Christ, who is our joy, as well as the truth of our lives.  Accepting this call is fundamental to our mission as Church. We need to come to know that grace ourselves and then, in accord with the call of our Baptism, to share it with others. As I begin this new assignment I ask for your prayers, and promise a remembrance in mine.  Together may we bring the joy of Christ’s love to our corner of the world here in the Church in Boston.  May Mary, Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Hope, intercede for God’s abundant blessings on our Archdiocese.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Monsignor Robert P. Deeley
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia

%d bloggers like this: