Please join the Cardinal during this virtual Lenten Retreat beginning Monday, March 23. Any help you can provide in spreading the word with our parishes, schools and ministries is greatly appreciated. The Archdiocese has information you can share on the homepage and across our social media platforms.
March 23, 2020
A Virtual Retreat with Cardinal Seán
Christ, Our Light in the Darkness
We will remember this Lent as one “in quarantine.” Social distancing the new norm as daily social interactions are suddenly unavailable to us. Schools are closed. We can’t go out to restaurants. Even public Mass has been suspended to curtail any further spread of this coronavirus. Many people feel alone. Many are scared. And people are thirsting for something good.
The Lord appoints shepherds to lead his flock, to be beacons of light in darkness, and to be instruments of hope to his people in times of despair. This Virtual Lenten Retreat with Cardinal Seán is a means for our shepherd to feed us, to comfort us, and to give us the hope we need right now.
Join Cardinal Seán on this five-part retreat, using this opportunity to enter more deeply into Lent and grow in your relationship with Christ.
Virtual Lenten Retreat Schedule
Monday, March 23, 7:00 PM – Prayer
Tuesday, March 24, 7:00 PM – Mercy and Forgiveness
Wednesday, March 25, 7:00 PM – Faith: The Key to Meaning and Call to Friendship
Thursday, March 26, 7:00 PM – Who is My Neighbor? The Good Samaritan
Friday, March 27, 7:00 PM – The Seven Last Words
Additional Holy Thursday Retreat
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 PM – The Eucharist
Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper from the
Cathedral of the Holy Cross to follow on Catholic TV at 7:30 PM
Retreat will air/stream nightly at 7:00 PM on:
Catholic TV (click here)
Catholic TV Facebook page (click here)
Archdiocese of Boston’s Facebook page (click here)
Bostoncatholic.org (click here)
All are welcome
Watch live on CatholicTVLIVE.com.
www.catholictv.org and by consulting local cable providers or network listings.
As a reminder the faithful is invited to participate in the daily and Sunday Mass www.WatchtheMass.com, viewers can watch the Mass in English every day from Sunday to Friday and the Mass in Spanish every Sunday.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Last week we had an insert in the Bulletin about the 2020 Catholic Appeal. This week in all the masses, a video will be shown to put some faces that are directly helped by our contributions. There are many programs that the archdiocese sponsors and supports that are a direct result from the contribution of the generosity of many benefactors. In the video this week, we see how the hospital chaplaincy and campus ministry help the lives of many people. They don't have parishes where they can receive financial support through collections. They don't have ways of covering the costs of retreats for young men and women, rental of rooms, or training of eucharistic ministers and lay chaplains that often minister to the sick all over the Archdiocese of Boston. This initiative is not about the institution of the Archdiocese of Boston, but rather, about HELPING THE PEOPLE who live within the Archdiocese. On a LOCAL LEVEL of our parish, the archdiocese has helped us in many ways. They have provided support in the formation of priests. Fr. Przemek and I received additional TRAINING on parish administration, finances, etc. The CATHOLIC SCHOOL's OFFICE has offered us support on the level of administration, academics, and best practices. During the fire and other technical problems we had, the Archdiocese has sent numerous CONSULTANTS AND EXPERTS for free to help us assess the best course of action. The LEGAL DEPARTMENT helps us with problems or concerns that we have faced through experienced lawyers from the Archdiocese. The TRIBUNAL services, that deals with all the canonical requests (annulment cases, requests for marriages, letters for priests from different dioceses...), are also provided to us. The workshops and some other resources are available to the parishes at no cost. All these services and help are provided because of YOUR GENEROSITY towards the Catholic Appeal. As we make our pledges this weekend (and the next if necessary), I invite you to be as generous, as God is! Once a priest told me, you cannot ever outdo God in generosity, because the more you give, even more will He also give! God bless, Fr. Steven
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we begin our second week of Lent, I would like to highlight the importance of this Holy Season. The word "Lent" comes from the old English word "Lenten". Originally, it did not have religious associations, it referred to the arrival of the spring and the "lengthening" of days. In many languages, though, Lent has a direct relationship with the time that precedes Easter. It is called "40 days", which comes from the Latin “Quadragesima”, referring to the 40 days of PREPARATION to celebrate Easter. If you drive around Boston this time of year, you will usually see a lot of people out running. Many of them are preparing themselves for the upcoming Boston Marathon. They might be on a special regimen of diet and exercise helping their bodies get ready for that big day. They have their training routine in which each day without missing a beat, they do what is necessary to be prepared. We are called to do exactly the same. We are called to enter in a spiritual diet, following a spiritual routine helping our souls to be ready for our big day, the celebration of Easter. Our Lenten practices are ways in which God helps us to be spiritually fit and eager to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Therefore, do not miss the opportunities that we have like attending daily mass, Stations of the Cross on Fridays, Adoration and Confessions on Wednesdays and also the series of talks we will start this Monday, March 9th. They will be Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30pm at Meehan Hall (IC School hall up the street).
I would like to take a moment to speak about these series of talks. They are one hour long, and each session is different from the other. Even though there is a continuation between them, they are independent from one another. Meaning, if someone misses one or two talks, they still can understand everything that will be said. During past masses I have mentioned how my dad was the one who brought my family back to the church.
When my brother and I were young, my family never went to Church. My father had never even made his first communion. He had studied, married my mother, had two sons, worked hard, made lots of money, but he never went to church. He was living like a “normal life” when suddenly my grandfather died and our world was upended. Because of family problems my mother, brother and I had to move out of state practically overnight, leaving my dad behind. He stayed behind in my home state for the time being hoping to find a job somewhere near where we were living but he was unable. After a year of being separated from us, my father found himself quite unhappy, suffering with a kind of loneliness or depression. This continued separation was putting a terrible strain on my parent’s marriage and of course our family. He told us later that he tried many, many things to make himself happy so he could cope with this situation but nothing worked (I’m sure some of you passed through similar situations and tried similar things). My father was in a big, big crises and it was only getting worse, he didn’t know what to do or where to turn and on the inside he was crying out to God…then inexplicably one day he decided to go to mass. Why not, he thought. Sitting there in church for the first time, for God knows how long, he felt very uncomfortable but near the end of Mass there was a speaker, a lay man, who talked about his own life and his own suffering and how listening to a “catechesis” had helped him. The speaker was extending this invitation to the whole parish to attend a series of talks (catechesis). My father having nothing to lose decided to go and listen. Listening to those talks he was struck by the news that God loved him the way he was! He doesn’t recall much more than that - but he recalls that distinctly: “for the first time in my life I was convinced that God loved me without demanding that I change”. He had no relationship with the Church or Jesus or God; so he had no reason to believe it only that his life had become a mess. Living alone, far from those who loved him, looking for something, anything to make himself happy was the condition he was in when he went to the catechesis. Listening he began to experience this love. He continued attending these talks which led to the formation of a group of people joining a “catechumenate”. Eventually, he received all the sacraments and brought my whole family into Church. We were reunited as a family and grateful, we all made the catechumenate a part of our lives and our family changed for the better. My parents’ marriage was rebuilt along with our family and both me and my brother heard the same call in different ways and offered ourselves to the church and unbelievably both of us are now priests. Only God could have foreseen this.
What is this catechumenate? In the first Centuries, if a person wanted to be baptized and become catholic, he/ she would begin a journey of preparation for baptism. This process/journey is called catechumenate. In other words, a catechumenate is a school of faith, where one learns how to forgive, how to face sufferings and difficulties leaning on Christ, in sum, learns to love one another. Once the emperor Constantine converted, the catechumenate practically disappeared, until it was rediscovered by the church in the II Vatican Council (1960’s) under Pope Paul VI. Nowadays, Catechumenate often refers to adults who want to be baptized in the Catholic Church. However, the Catechism (#1231) says that those already baptized can also do a catechumenate. Why would a person do that? in order to help the increase of faith and for the “flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth.”
As your pastor, I urge you to take advantage of the possibility that Lent gives us to grow in the intimacy with the Lord through the many initiatives that the parish is offering during this time. Do not be afraid to try to have an encounter with Christ in your lives. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:20).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have heard in the past, “desperate times require desperate measures.” That might be true on many different levels. In the life of the Church, I prefer to use that desperate times need HOLINESS! We live in a world that has changed, almost reversed, the common values that build our society. In every way we are challenged to believe what the world wants us to believe. At times this message is so subtle that we don’t even perceive it. Pope Saint John Paul II once cried out saying that “what in the past was a crime, today is a right.” In front of all these challenges, it is a temptation for us to go with the flow, or to remain silent with our values quietly remaining in our hearts. However, God calls us to be prophets in this generation, bearing the truth to the people around us. By our baptism we were anointed Priest, Prophet, and King. So God already equipped us with the graces and the strength to be his mouthpiece in the world. Surely there will be criticisms, but the same thing happened to the prophets of the Old Testament.
Today’s reading enlightens us with the fundamental problem of mankind, namely, original sin. Once I heard someone explaining it as “a distorted desire for something that we don’t need.” Even though it’s very simple, and not theologically deep, it is very revealing. What makes us suffer today are the things that we would like to have (better house, job, car, etc.) or what we should have had (better childhood, parents, education etc.). The inclination to such desires conveys a subtle lie that God did not do things right, there is something missing in creation. In Genesis we hear that God said that everything was good, all of his creation. We might beg to differ. This is the dialogue between the serpent and Eve. The serpent plants a seed of doubt, questioning that if God limits us, he does not really love us. That’s only a premise to the final conclusion that we really don’t need God, that we can give life to ourselves. Therefore, Eve is convinced of eating of the fruit and disrespecting God. That seed of doubt is planted in each one of us. Christ has come to tell us (and prove) that God does love us. “God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16). Christ is the antidote to the doubts that are planted by the devil, and an answer to all of our problems. This truth has helped me personally many times in my life. In the dialogue between Peter and Jesus, Peter rebukes Jesus for wanting to die in Jerusalem. He replies to that saying, Peter, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mt 16:23) It’s true, sometimes we have difficulties understanding why God allows an event in our lives, or why He does not give us what we ask.
In front of all of this, we need help understanding God’s ways, to have our lives enlightened, so we can become this beacon of light that God calls us to be (“You are the light of the World”, Mt 5:14). We need encouragement to become today’s prophets in the world. We need assistance to become HOLY! This is what the world truly needs. Last week, the Church recognized a miracle attributed to a young man who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. He will be beatified very soon. What did he do different? He welcomed the Good News of the Gospel, that God is love!
For this reason, after more than a year learning about our parish, we have decided to start a series of talks from the Neocatechumenal Way, as well as implementing the program of the Disciples in Mission from the Archdiocese. While the former is approved by the Vatican, both of them are supported by the Cardinal. As our bishop, he has seen the need to implement ways to help our people. We will also be having adoration and confession on Wednesday’s and stations of the cross on Friday’s during Lent, as well as daily mass at 7:30am. This is something that can be offered to people of all backgrounds, no requirements are needed! And as is very seldom nowadays, both of them are gratis! Gratis means not only free, but a GRACE from God!
Therefore, I encourage you and urge you to participate and spread the word about these initiatives. All the Popes always speak of the New Evangelization, of a “radical” choice of the Gospel. We have a prime opportunity to listen to this call. We are living in desperate times, and the response is not desperate measures, but HOLINESS.
Father Steven Clemence