Boston Friars Celebrate Portiuncula, Cardinal

HNP Communications Friar News

BOSTON — Friars at St. Anthony Shrine here celebrated the Aug. 2 feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, along with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.

Friars from the retirement residence across the street joined the celebration, along with a few visiting friars. 

The cardinal, his secretary, and the rector of Holy Cross Cathedral arrived at 5 p.m., with postulants and friars gathered in the community recreation room to welcome him. At 5:15 p.m., participants gathered in the friars’ chapel for a special evening prayer prepared by John Maganzini, OFM. 

At the end of the prayer service, the cardinal blessed the community, and friars and guests enjoyed preprandium and a dinner prepared by the shrine’s kitchen staff. Cardinal O’Malley blessed the meal. 

At the end of the meal, guardian and director David Convertino, OFM, made a presentation to honor the cardinal. Along with a card of good wishes signed by the community, he was given a replica of a kneeling St. Francis displayed in the shrine’s second-floor lobby. It was engraved to honor his silver jubilee of ordination as a bishop.

After the presentation, participants returned to the community recreation room for cake, Italian desserts and coffee. “It was truly a Franciscan evening of celebration,” John said.

The feast of the Portiuncula celebrates the vision at the Chapel of Our Lady of Angels, in which the Lord, accompanied by the Blessed Virgin, invited St. Francis to ask whatever favor he desired. Francis asked for what became known as the Portiuncula Indulgence, or the Great Pardon of Assisi. 

The pardon was first set aside for people who visited the Chapel of Our Lady of Angels on the feast day but was later extended to all churches, beginning at noon on Aug. 1 through midnight on Aug. 2, according to a recent bulletin from St. Anthony of Padua Church in New York City, served by Immaculate Conception Province.

Kevin Cronin, OFM, of the Province’s Ministry of the Word, said it was at the Portiuncula where Francis received St. Clare and began the Second order. It was also where he wished to embrace sister death. He said, “Many people may not realize that is was after this chapel — dedicated to our lady of the Angels, the Mater et Caput church of the Order — that the city of Los Angeles is named.”

On the feast, Kevin spoke at two Province parishes, embracing the opportunity to share about the Order’s 800-year history.