Local

Archbishop O’Malley—a healer, administrator, and teacher

byMeghan Dorney
8/1/2003

After more than a year of uncertainty, many area Catholics were relieved that a spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Boston had finally been named and they are anxious for him to begin his work of “healing” the archdiocese.

Paula Giraldo of Our Lady of Assumption Parish in East Boston told The Pilot, “It’s wonderful that we have a new archbishop because I can see the mercy of God sending us a shepherd to lead His people.

"Archbishop [Seán] O'Malley brings a sense of hope to the diocese and the Good News of the love of God so that people can believe in the Church again," she said.

Like Giraldo, many see the reunification of the Church in Boston, which has been fractured by the clergy sexual abuse scandal, as one of the first steps that Archbishop O’Malley should take.

While she does not know much about the new archbishop, Maria Berardi of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Jamaica Plain, was sure of the task Archbishop O’Malley has ahead of him. “He needs to bring a lot of people back to the Church so that they can follow the Church again,” she said.

Others were more familiar with Archbishop O’Malley and his previous work of bringing reconciliation to the Fall River and Palm Beach dioceses, both affected by sexual abuse scandals. Dennis Keough, a parishioner from Attleborough, in the Fall River diocese, called Archbishop O’Malley’s appointment a “brilliant choice.” He emphasized the archbishop’s humility saying “all the pomp and circumstance are out of him.”

"I hope that he can put the problems of the Church during the past 20 years behind us so that we can all go on with our faith," Keough said, noting that the faithful have been divided due to the scandal. "I hope that he can unite us all"

Archbishop O’Malley’s reputation precedes him as being a great healer and a very spiritual person, but those who know him well say there is much more to him than that.

His timely summonses to go and heal not one, not two, but three troubled dioceses, is most effectively reflected by his episcopal motto emblazoned on his coat of arms: "Quodcumque Dixerit Facite" (“Do whatever He tells you”).