May 5, 2019


This weekend we welcome Cardinal Sean O’Malley to the Blue Hills Collaborative as he celebrates the 11:30 Mass at St. Anne Church for the 100th Anniversary of the parish. I know it’s the first time since our arrival in June 2014 that the Cardinal has visited one of our parishes to celebrate a weekend Liturgy. He may have been to all 3 of our parishes prior to our arrival but at this time I don’t have that information.

The people of St. Anne Parish and those of Most Precious Blood and St. Pius X are privileged to mark this milestone. For many of us, we have witnessed major changes in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960’s. The documents of that Council have truly recognized the importance of baptism in the life of each of us and how it empowers us to be citizens of the Church. Prior to that Council, we were divided between the clergy and the Laity, since then we now recognize that together we are the People of God. Over the past 55-60 years all of our parishes have experienced the profound impact of the teachings of Vatican II. As you know, some pastors and priests were very instrumental in embracing the theological and ecclesiological direction of the Council and those parishes were very excited about the new possibilities afforded to their parishioners. Other pastors and priests who may not have valued the new insights of the Vatican II teachings were not as quick to implement the changes and as a result, even today some Catholics continue to resist the language and teaching of the Council. It can be a very painful process to realize that our understanding of God and the Church can evolve.

Cardinal O’Malley was ordained in 1970 which means he was in the seminary (in formation) during the turbulent years of the 1960’s and the Second Vatican Council. He grew up as many of us did seeing the institutional Church as the ultimate decision maker for every Catholic. Prior to the Second Vatican Council the average Catholic and priest did not have to do a lot of thinking, it was done for us. By the way, that was true about a lot of institutions. People in authority made the decisions and those under their authority knew what they had to do. I remember those days myself. In fact, I have some of my fondest memories that date back to growing up Catholic. I loved the Church of my youth, but I was a spectator. That all changed for many of us with the Vatican Council as we began to become aware of and embrace the privileges and responsibilities that are ours as members of the Church.

As a bishop in the Catholic Church and as Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal O’Malley is accountable to all the Catholics in the Archdiocese, whether they be pre Vatican II stalwarts or Vatican II enthusiasts. We recognize the challenges and opportunities he has as the leader of the local Church.

It is an honor to welcome him to St. Anne Parish and the Blue Hills Collaborative.

May God continue to challenge the Church to be all we are meant to be in the 21st Century.

Father Coyne


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