I am writing to provide you with the annual update on the activities of the guild and inform you of upcoming events in which I hope you will participate. Going forward, we hope to provide a variety of uplifting and enriching events that will encourage your participation and assist you in living out your faith in both your professional and personal life.
Several of us are still basking in the glow of a wonderful event which we attended last week, the ordination of our beloved Father Mark, now Bishop O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston. It was my first ordination of a bishop, and it was deeply moving. From the procession of priests, bishops, the Papal Nuncio, Cardinal O’Malley, and the Knights of Columbus, Malta, and the Holy Sepulcher, to the wonderful voices of the Cathedral Choir and the St. Paul Choir School, and the mass offered by Cardinal O’Malley, it was a once in a lifetime moment. The final works by Bishop O’Connell were moving, meaningful and heartfelt. He as always professed that he has always wanted to be a happy priest, and that was most evident at the ordination. More than a week has passed, and I am sure he still has the grin on his face. Who knew he was a hockey player growing up? His Coat of Arms recalls his family heritage, the Archdiocese of Boston and Our Lady, Star of the Sea. As an attorney, it is interesting to see the bottom section of the his Coat of Arms which is a scroll tied in green and sealed in red which is a traditional symbol of Cannon law. We have nothing but admiration and congratulations for Bishop O’Connell and thank him for the nine years of service as the guild’s chaplain. His presence and assistance with be sorely missed. Congratulations, Bishop O’Connell.
We look forward to welcoming our new chaplain, Father Chris Palladino. Father Chris is a canon lawyer like Father Mark, and he has been named adjutant judicial vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal effective, coincidentally, today. Congratulations, Father Chris. We look forward to a wonderful relationship with you much like that which we enjoyed with Father Mark.
We suffered a great loss this past year with the passing of Paul McNamara. Paul was more than just the guild president; he was a friend to all. He epitomized living out your faith daily in all that you do. He was always there to help a friend or assist a charitable organization, especially if it had the words “Irish” or “Boston College” in it. We were able to visit Paul at his home shortly before his passing, a home that, not surprisingly, looks out upon the Boston College campus, a fitting perch for a special “triple eagle” who enjoyed a stellar legal career that spanned over 50 years. We presented Paul with the Joseph R. Nolan Award, the guild’s highest honor. He is only the second recipient of this award which he greatly deserved. We could see and sense his joy when receiving the award from the guild which he held so dear and of which he was such a capable steward. He was a member and a director for many years and adeptly took the reins of the organization when Judge Nolan, our president for over 25 years, was unable to continue his work with the board. For many years, Paul quietly and humbly spearheaded the guild’s most notable event, the Red Mass. It was just over a year ago that Paul was writing to us all to remind us of all the good things that were happening with the guild. In his eulogy, Paul’s son summed it up best: he was a true gentleman, a man with grace, dignity, humor, humility and concern for others. He will be sorely missed.
I would like to thank the board, and in particular Maura Doyle and Beirne Lovely, who, as co-vice presidents, guided the guild when Paul was unavailable, much like when Paul stepped forward to assist Judge Nolan. Their leadership at a critical time kept the ship afloat and continued the good works of the guild. We owe both of them a debt of gratitude. Thank you so much for what you have done, and continue to do, for the guild.
With the passing in recent years of the only two presidents that that guild has had over the past 30 years, and the loss of our chaplain of nine years, the board of directors has taken the opportunity to genuinely and sincerely reflect upon the purpose and direction of the guild. It has been the general consensus of the board that the loss of these two giants and our chaplain is a vast void to fill. It is also an opportunity, however, for us to experiment with new events and activities, as well as improve upon our existing functions, in the hopes of making membership in the guild even more meaningful and fulfilling for all of its members. In that regard, we welcome all of you to voice your suggestions as to the type of events in which you would like to see the guild involved and what the guild can do to assist you in living your life bound by faith, committed to justice.
This past year saw the continuation of the mass and brunch series hosted at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. These events include a mass at 10:00 a.m. followed by a light brunch and discussion. This year’s discussions ranged from the seal of confession to a discussion with the CEO of Catholic Charities. We will be continuing the series in the upcoming year with the first mass, brunch and discussion on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 10:00 am at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. For those of you who have not attended any of these in the past, the Pastoral Center is located at 66 Brooks Drive in Braintree, just off Route 93/128, opposite the South Shore Plaza. There is no fee for the event, just bring yourself. You will leave wondering why you haven’t attended one of these in the past. Families, friends and spouses are welcome and encouraged.
The Red Mass will be held this year on October 30, 2016, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 1400 Washington Street, Boston. This will be followed by a luncheon and talk by our featured guest, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and former Mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn. Ambassador Flynn is the third of the three local Ambassadors to the Holy See to address the guild at the Red Mass. Given his past positions as Mayor, Ambassador, contributor to The Pilot, as well as radio commentator and other positions, he will certainly be both entertaining and informative. Hopefully he will share, as he recently wrote about in The Pilot, his interaction over the years with Mother Teresa who will be canonized next week. This mass and luncheon has long been a signature event for the guild, and we hope you will attend. If you cannot attend, we would like you to consider sponsoring a law student. Due to the generosity of many members, we have been fortunate to invite bright, faith-filled law students to the luncheon who cannot afford to purchase a ticket, and we hope to continue this tradition this year. Please consider sponsoring a student by purchasing a ticket which we can then offer to interested and deserving law students from our surrounding law schools.
One new initiative that we would like to install this year is receptions for new and young lawyers. We hope to have a reception in the Seaport District this fall and spring as well as an event with our own Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court, Maura Doyle, around the time of the fall swearing in ceremonies. Any members wishing to participate in, promote or attend this event are asked to email the guild which will put you in contact with the event chair, Adrienne Camire.
We also hope this year to launch new service initiatives. It is only fitting during this Year of Mercy, in which Pope Francis encourages our priests to be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep that we, who have been so blessed, get out from behind our desk and engage in selfless service. We hope to participate in at least three service projects this year, one on the north shore at Core Unum Food Center, 191 Salem Street, Lawrence, one on the south shore at Father Bill’s Place, 1610 Hancock Street, Quincy, and one in Boston at Regina Cleri, 60 William Cardinal O’Connell Way, Boston, in the West End. In the words of Mother Teresa, if we cannot feed one hundred people, then feed just one. I hope these projects are just the beginning of us serving hundreds of people in the future, doing “small things with great love”. We welcome suggestions for other service opportunities that our members may suggest.
The first of these events will take place on Wednesday, September, 28 at 1:30 p.m. at Regina Cleri which just celebrated 50 years of serving our archdiocese as a residence for retired priests. We hope that those of you who would like to attend and assist can take a late lunch and join us. You need not bring anything. Your presence and company is a tremendous welcome to these priests who spent their entire vocation in the service of the church and who greatly appreciate your presence. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.
In closing, I ask the following: welcome, will you join us? The vibrancy and relevance of this guild is directly related to the participation of its members. We are at a special juncture in the guild’s history where we are looking to engage our membership with new events in the future while celebrating and improving the incredible events that we have enjoyed for many years. We are open to new ideas and new events that you, our members, would like to see and in which you would like to participate. If you have an idea, whether it be amicus briefs, prison ministries, or something less conventional like a softball team or harbor cruise, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I and the board welcome new or traditional activities which help our members grow in faith and fellowship, profession and family. The board of directors welcomes the opportunity to work for the betterment of us all.
Thank you for your support and participation. I look forward to seeing you at a CLG event, either one already scheduled or which you would like to propose. As Mother Teresa so aptly said, God does not require that we succeed, he only requires that we try. I am confident that with the effort of the many talented members of our guild, the best years of the CLG are just before us.
Michael K. Gillis