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From Cardinal Seán's blog

Cardinal O'Malley participates in the annual Advent Gathering for the staff of the Pastoral Center, this year held virtually on Thursday, Dec. 17. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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Saturday was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and we had a modest celebration with the Cathedral Parish organized by Sister Sara. It was lovely, but it was certainly a far cry from the celebration we would normally have -- with Aztec dancers, mariachis, and huge crowds. It was just one more reminder of the reality that we are living during this pandemic, and we all look forward to next year's celebration.

I always remind people that Dec. 8 and Dec. 12 are two Advent feasts of Mary. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, God is preparing the Mother of God for her role in salvation history, and Our Lady of Guadalupe appears wearing the maternity gown of the Aztec culture because she is the woman of Advent waiting for the birth of the Christ Child.

Board meetings

Monday and Tuesday, I participated in board meetings of the Catholic University of America. The university is, like all colleges, working hard to adjust to the demands of the pandemic, and I think they are doing a fine job. They have a very active board, and we are very grateful for the wonderful spirit that President Garvey, the faculty, and staff bring to their work with our young people at CUA.

Bishop William Byrne

On Tuesday, I traveled to Springfield for the ordination of their new bishop, Bishop William Byrne. I was honored to be invited to serve as principal celebrant and consecrator. As the metropolitan archbishop of this province, I also installed him at the Mass.

Current capacity restrictions didn't allow for the huge crowd that would normally have been present at Springfield's Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel. But we were happy that we could be joined by Bishop Byrne's predecessor, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis, as well as Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory, who is the archbishop of Washington, where Bishop Byrne was pastor before being named bishop. With us was also the papal nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis naming Bishop Byrne the bishop of Springfield.

Bishop Byrne is the youngest of eight children, so there were many Byrne family members with us, including his mother, who is in her 90s, and his sister, who is a religious.

Bishop Byrne is blessed with many talents and was very successful in his pastoral ministries in Washington, both in the parishes and campus ministry, as well as in promoting vocations. We know he will bring these talents to his ministry as bishop of Springfield. We pray that the Lord will bless his ministry and the people of the Diocese of Springfield, who received him with great affection and enthusiasm.

Staff of the Pastoral Center

On Thursday, we held our annual Advent Gathering for the staff of the Pastoral Center. Unfortunately, this year we were unable to gather for our Mass and reception, as we usually would. However, our staff very creatively put together a virtual gathering, which was very well done. Bishop Peter Uglietto even complimented the staff on arranging for the snow, so we would have the proper atmosphere for our Advent party!

I was very happy to be able to greet everyone and give a short reflection on Advent.

After that, we had a slideshow featuring photos of staff members' Nativity scenes, which played while Tom Lyman and his wife, Lauren, sang beautiful Christmas hymns.

And, of course, no Advent Gathering would be complete without Bishop Peter leading us in our annual gift raffle. This year, there were no slips of paper in a basket, but instead, they had a digital "Wheel of Fortune" with everyone's name on it, which I thought was very creative.

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