success stories

Posted July 28, 2003

O'Malley asks for prayers of healing

by Tom Mashberg and Lisa Gentes
Saturday, July 26, 2003

Archbishop-designate Sean P. O'Malley spoke of his upcoming job as ``intimidating'' yesterday and urged the Bay State faithful to ``pray for healing'' in the embattled Archdiocese of Boston.

Appearing for a half-hour on the Boston Catholic Television program ``This is the Day,'' O'Malley said, ``It is intimidating to come into this kind of a responsibility.

``I accept it in faith and I accept it knowing that the prayers of my priests and people will be there to support me,'' O'Malley, 59, said.

O'Malley was not questioned specifically by BCTV host Jay Fadden about the sexual-abuse crisis that led to his predecessor's downfall and his own appointment. But during an oblique reference, he asked viewers for prayers to ``heal us of the pain that we've gone through in these last several months.''

O'Malley, who will become one of only three Capuchin friars serving as archbishops, is to be installed Wednesday during a two-hour ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

Asked how he felt about the event, he said: ``I'm sure it will be very lovely. I'll be glad when all the hoopla is over, though.''

Boston police officials said yesterday they would have security inside and outside the cathedral for the installation Mass, and create a cordoned zone for protesters diagonally across the street from the building's front entrance.

Church officials said O'Malley would have no public schedule until the ceremony. On TV yesterday, O'Malley said he was ``very grateful for the warm welcome I have received'' so far in Boston.

O'Malley also said he was not accustomed to delegating from his work as bishop of the smaller dioceses of Fall River and Palm Beach, Fla., but noted that he would clearly have to do so given the breadth of the Boston see.

``I like to be aware of what's happening,'' he said. ``I like to visit the parishes regularly and meet with the pastors and priests.'' Although his new posting has 1,600 parish and order priests scattered across 362 parishes, he said, ``I will try to learn as many names as I can.''

Excitement about O'Malley's arrival is growing among Catholics.

``He truly is an extraordinary priest,'' said Jack Shaughnessy Sr., the Southie builder and Catholic philanthropist. ``We are very fortunate and blessed to have him.''

Robert H. Quinn, the former state attorney general, added: ``I certainly am excited. Last year was a very dismal year. I don't think we could make any more headlines on these situations. It's time to go resolving these issues.''

Anne Carroll, a history teacher at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, said she has met O'Malley ``on several occasions.''

``I think he has a huge task ahead of him, but I think that most Bostonians should be very receptive to his arrival,'' she said. ``I don't think anyone who has ever come in contact with him has come away without feeling they are in the presence of a very holy man.''