Advent is a time full of light, laughter, and joy. It is a time for reflection, looking back over the blessings God has granted us over the year. It is also a time to look ahead with hope towards Christmas and the Lord’s enduring promise of His Presence with us. The Boston Area members and Auxiliary members came together, with those recollections and beliefs in mind, and the desire to Remember Bethlehem this Christmas, focusing on our commitment to the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem.
The Advent gathering took place on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, under the patronage of His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley, OFMCap, BGCHD, Archbishop of Boston. The Holy Mass was celebrated with palpable reverence and profound beauty by Most Rev. Robert Reed in the Chapel of St. John’s Seminary, Brighton. Bishop Reed, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and President of CatholicTV, brought a familiar and welcome face to many, from his frequent presence on the network he heads, which broadcasts daily Mass and Catholic programs in 16 states as well as to a worldwide audience. With more than 70 Order of Malta members and associates present, it was a joy to gather in this familiar place at the invitation of Very Rev. Stephen Salocks, rector of the seminary.
After the Mass, Boston Area Chair Tommy Driscoll, KM, introduced more fully the Boston Area’s stalwart commitment to the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem as one of the Primary Works of the Order of Malta.
Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation Director Kate Robinson, who traveled to Boston for the Advent gathering, was introduced along with the Foundation’s Chairwoman Emeritus Ellen Shafer, GCMOb, and Foundation Board member Gail Berardino, DMOb, who also came to Boston, representing a robust committee of hosts of the event which included American Association President Peter Kelly, MD, GCM, and Linda Kelly, DM, Ambassador Robert Shafer, GCMOb, Foundation Board Chairman Patrick Powers, KM, as well as Foundation Board member Tommy Driscoll, KM, and Jane Driscoll.
Recognizing that many members of the Order of Malta are already familiar with the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem’s significant and vital work in the sacred place where our Lord and Savior Himself was born, personal experiences were offered by Boston University Human Rights Law Clinic Director Susan M. Akram, JD. She spoke about the conditions in which the hospital operates, at the confluence of three world religions, and about the needfulness of the population there, which the hospital serves whether they can pay for services or not. Akram told of harrowing events at the hospital and how the Order of Malta’s neutrality and sovereign status support what it is able to accomplish.