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Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

St. Cornelius, Pope, Martyr and St. Cyprian, Bishop, Martyr

Saint Cornelius was elected Pope in 251 during the persecutions of the Emperor Decius. His first challenge, besides the ever present threat of the Roman authorities, was to bring an end to the schism brought on by his rival, the first anti-pope Novatian. He convened a synod of bishops to confirm him as the rightful successor of Peter. The great controversy that arose as a result of the Decian persecution was whether or not the Church could pardon and receive back into the Church those who had apostacized in the face of martyrdom.  Against both the bishops who argued that the Church could not welcome back apostates, and those who argued that they should be welcomed back but did not demand a heavy penance of the penitent, Cornelius decreed that they must be welcomed back and insisted that they perform an adequate penance. In 253 Cornelius was exiled by the emperor Gallus and died of the hardships he endured in exile. He is venerated as a martyr. Saint Cyprian of Carthage is second in importance only to the great Saint Augustine as a figure and Father of the African church. He was a close friend of Pope Cornelius, and supported him both against the anti-pope Novatian and in his views concerning the re-admittance of apostates into the Church. Saint Cyprian was born to wealthy pagans around the year 190, and was educated in the classics and in rhetoric. He converted at the age of 56, was ordained a priest a year later, and made bishop two years after that. His writings are of great importance, especially his treatise on The Unity of the Catholic Church, in which he argues that unity is grounded in the authority of the bishop, and among the bishops, in the primacy of the See of Rome. In, "The Unity of the Catholic Church," St. Cyprian writes, "You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother.... God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body.... If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace." During the Decian persecutions Cyprian considered it wiser to go into hiding and guide his flock covertly rather than seek the glorious crown of martyrdom, a decision that his enemies attacked him for. On September 14, 258, however, he was martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Valerian.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit at St. John’s

Hello and welcome! Each year, we open the academic year in all three of our seminaries with a Mass of the Holy Spirit. This week, I celebrated the Mass at St. John’s Seminary. After the Mass, I joined the seminarians for lunch, including our newly arrived seminarians, whom we were very pleased to welcome. We […]

The renovated chapel at Regina Cleri

Hello and welcome! Last Sunday, I attended the wake service for Karen Coughlin, the wife of Deacon Paul Coughlin, at Holy Family Church in East Taunton. She was a graduate of the Masters of Arts in Ministry program at St. John’s Seminary, and her whole life was dedicated to passing on the faith and preparing […]

Meetings and farewells

Hello and welcome! Marking the 160th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Vianney, the patron saint of priests, the Holy Father wrote a beautiful letter to priests, reflecting on the life of the saint and the joys and challenges of priesthood. In it, he also speaks about the crisis and the suffering of so […]

The Feast of the Portiuncula

Hello and welcome! This past Friday was the Feast of St. Mary of the Angels of the Portiuncula, which was also the 35th anniversary of my episcopal ordination. I look back at that moment with great gratitude for having given me the opportunity to serve the wonderful Catholics of four extraordinary dioceses, and it all […]

Remembering Cardinal Ortega of Cuba

Hello and welcome! Last Thursday was a particularly full day, beginning in the morning with a visit by Capuchin Bishop Musie Ghebreghiorghis of Emdeber, Ethiopia. He had visited about 10 years ago, so we were happy to welcome him back to Boston. He was in town to visit the Ethiopian community at the cathedral. For […]

A reflection from our Superintendent of Schools

Hello and welcome! This month I have been happy to be able to give two of our newly ordained priests, Fathers Joe Almeida and Brain O’Hanlon, an opportunity to introduce themselves to you. Along those same lines, this week, I have asked our new Superintendent of Schools, Thomas Carroll, to introduce himself to you through […]

Reflections of a newly ordained priest: Father Brian O’Hanlon

Hello and welcome! Around this time each year, I like to give some our newly ordained priests a chance to introduce themselves to you through my blog. Earlier in the month we heard from Father Joe Almeida and this week I have asked Father Brian O’Hanlon to share his reflections with you. Cardinal Seán I […]

The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Hello and welcome! Regular readers will remember that, as I concluded my last post, I was in Rome for a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, and it was the eve of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patronal feast of the city. Before I move on to the events of this week, […]

Reflections of a newly ordained priest: Father Joseph Almeida

Hello and welcome! I hope you all had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day holiday! As I always like to do this time of year, I have asked a couple of our newly ordained priests to share their stories with you. I think it is an important opportunity for all of us to get to […]