I have striven for our parish to be a Church for the Poor and on this trip God showed me the real need out there for His Church to continue to minister.

This weekend the Feast of St. Blaise is displaced by Sunday Mass, however we will have the BLESSING OF THROATS after each of the Masses. I will attempt to bless the throats of older folk before each Mass, so don’t be offended if I pass by you. This is a great tradition and I hope everyone participates and has their throat blessed.

It was nice to be with you this past Sunday for the Masses after my return from Panama the night prior. This year we went to World Youth Day with a much smaller contingent of four, which included me and Catherine Rein. Our parish was one of a few groups who represented the Archdiocese. Other parishes came from Hanover-Norwell, Framingham, Arlington, along with a small contingent of six from the Fall River diocese. The majority of participants came from Central and South America, where this time of year is considered their summer time.

It was a special treat to see so many young people and families share in the joy of a Catholic faith, our love for God, and our affirmation of the role of the Blessed Mother in the life of the Universal Church. I spent some time each day taping spots for the daily homily along with various delegations.  The daily homilies on Facebook and Instagram run through February 2nd.

The reason I taped down there was to provide you with a better sense of the daily activities at WYD, and also so you could enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. It was so exciting to see the Pope and to participate in the devotions and activities of the week. We walked a great deal and used their metro quite a bit. I guarantee you the two boys have never walked so much in their lives, but they also got to see the indigenous people of Panama in addition to the rest of the Panamanian population. I thank our youth John Pressley and Andrew DaPonte for their patience with the tapings, most of which they were present for. This was my first WYD and it was great effort to participate (yeah, I know you’re thinking they must have had to twist his arm to attend).

I don’t like flying and so split the flight into four segments. I like my own bed, my own food, my own car. I get nervous traveling in strange cities where I don’t know the language. By the way, I used my Waze app for walking directions back to the hotel, and it brought me into the middle of the ghetto, with burned out cars and abject poverty and crime. A half mile in, I realized I was in deep trouble and wasn’t sure if I walked out the way I went in whether I would make it.  Miraculously a man my age approached his parked cab, and I jumped into the empty back seat. He couldn’t speak English, nor I his language, but he eventually found a translator and I was returned to my hotel. My heart was in my mouth for much of the cab ride. 

I have striven for our parish to be a Church for the Poor and on this trip God showed me the real need out there for His Church to continue to minister. This past weekend we took up a collection for the Church in Latin America, and this trip showed me where the need is greatest. We met the Venezuelan delegation, and as they described the troubles in their country my heart went out to each of them yet these youngsters were resilient and put their trust in God through their intercession with the Blessed Mother.  We also met a group from Poland of eight twenty-somethings, who arrived in Panama with no housing, and were quite upset and hungry…..I suspect they were not the only group that went without housing, WYD Brazil found many sleeping on the sand by the ocean.

I share this because it gives you a sense of how much they were on fire to participate in this gathering of youth throughout the Universal Church. It was such a gift to see this outpouring of faith! The next World Youth Day is in 2022 and will be hosted by Portugal. It will be held during the summer, and it is my hope that we can send along a bigger delegation, including entire families. We’ll continue to post pictures of the event on our Facebook site.

May God Bless each of us!