The Good Catholic Life dispatches from Rome: Reflections of Msgr. Connie McRae

March 3, 2013

Papal Election

By Gregory L. Tracy

This morning, Sunday, March 3, Cardinal O’Malley joined a number of the other American Cardinals in concelebrating a Mass at the Pontifical North American College.

The main celebrant and homilist was Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia,O.P., vice president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Archbishop DiNioa

Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br /> Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

During the mass, about 70 seminarians studying at the North American College received the ministry of acolyte. Formerly one of the minor orders, the ministry of acolyte is one of the steps the seminarians take in advancing towards ordination.

Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br /> Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Though one might think the most important aspect of the Mass was the moment when each of the candidates approached Archbishop DiNoia and was symbolically handed a liturgical vessel, a sign that the ministry of the acolyte is to assist the priest and deacon at Mass and to prepare the altar.Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Instead, for me, perhaps the most significant moment was the “calling of the candidates,” a rollcall of sorts in which the name and home diocese of each candidate is read aloud. In response, each candidate stands, announces he is present and bows. The significance was not in the solemnity or the symbolism. Rather it was in hearing the multitude of dioceses is represented among men receiving that ministry.Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Among the candidates were men from all over the United States, from New York to Oregon, from Texas to Minnesota – and even one each from our neighboring dioceses of Fall River and Worcester. It was a clear demonstration of the great resource that the North American College is for the Church in the United States.Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Cardinal Sean P.  O’Malley and celebrates Sunday Mass with other American Cardinals and  Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. at the Pontifical North American College March 3, 2013. <br /> During the Mass about 50 seminarians —  including those from the Dioceses of Fall River and Worcester — received the order of acolyte, one of the steps in advancing towards the priesthood.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Also this evening was the usual gathering of Boston priests and seminarians who are stationed in Rome. They meet once a month at a local pizza restaurant to share stories and stay connected. There I caught up with Msgr. Cornelius “Connie” McCrae. Msgr. McRae was a long time pastor in Norwood before coming to Rome to serve as spiritual director at the North American College.

I asked Msgr. McRae to share his reflections on the resignation of Pope Benedict and the upcoming conclave. Here is what he had to say:

About Gregory Tracy

Gregory L. Tracy is the Managing Editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston and America’s oldest Catholic newspaper.

View all posts by Gregory Tracy

Comments Closed

2 Responses to “The Good Catholic Life dispatches from Rome: Reflections of Msgr. Connie McRae”

  1. Katie Kennedy Says:

    Great to see & hear Msgr. McRae in Rome!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A great pilgrimage – Summary of our coverage from Rome - The Good Catholic Life - March 18, 2013

    […] The Good Catholic Life dispatches from Rome: Reflections of Msgr. Connie McRae (Greg Tracy) […]