Boston’s new vicar general

Boston’s new vicar general

The new vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Richard Erickson, gave a brief interview to the Boston Globe which was published on Sunday. He talks about what it was like to be a chaplain in Iraq, to come home to the archdiocese after having been away while the Scandal raged, and what role he hopes to play.

Erickson was on his way to a plum posting as an air wing chaplain at a USAF base in Hawaii when he got the call to come back to Boston. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but reading between the lines you get the sense he was reluctant, but who wouldn’t be? Yet, as an obedient priest he came home to serve. A few bon mots: When asked if chaplains are like “Fr. Mulcahy” from MASH, Erickson responded that as a kid he was more likely to be watching Charlie’s Angels. Nice to see he was a normal boy back then.

More seriously, I think his attitude about bringing healing to the archdiocese is just right. It is Christ who heals; we need to get out of his way and facilitate the opportunity for it. He also clearly sees that evangelization is accomplished more clearly by the witness of our actions than by the eloquence of our words, an idea promoted by St. Francis of Assisi.

He also says that his priority is “leadership in the Catholic Church.” I’m glad to hear that. This is what I’ve been hoping for a long time, that we would get clear leadership so that when, say, the Mayor of Boston says something inane about the Catholic faith, we get more from the archdiocese than “The Mayor is a committed Catholic and I’m sure he means well.”

Erickson started his new job this week at the same time about 25 people were laid off and 25 more positions at the chancery were eliminated. While he may not have been responsible for the action, I hope it’s symbolic of a necessary housecleaning that is about to take place.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli