Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley applauds Bishops-elect Mark O'Connell and Robert Reed at the June 3 media availability held following the Vatican's announcement of the appointments. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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BRIGHTON -- Following the Holy See's early morning June 3 announcement that Pope Francis named Father Robert P. Reed and Father Mark O'Connell auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Boston, the archdiocese introduced the two new bishops-elect to the media at a press conference held at St. John's Seminary the same day.
"The Archdiocese of Boston is blessed to have two new auxiliary bishops who will assist Cardinal Seán in his task of shepherding and leading the nearly two million Catholics who reside in this local Church," said Vicar General Bishop Peter J. Uglietto, who introduced Bishops-elect Reed and O'Connell.
The bishops-elect, seated at a table with Bishop Uglietto and Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, gave statements and answered questions from the media.
Bishop-elect Reed is currently President and CEO of iCatholic Media, the parent organization of The Pilot, as well as serving as the archdiocese's Cabinet Secretary for Catholic Media. Bishop-elect O'Connell serves as Judicial Vicar of the archdiocese, and is on the faculty at both St. John's Seminary and at Pope John XXIII Seminary.
"It has been a very humbling and sobering experience," said Bishop-elect Reed in his remarks.
"This really is about our continuing work together in building up the Church here in this great archdiocese," he continued.
He said he is filled with optimism about the future, noting that "we stand at a very important moment" in the life of the Church.
"It's a moment of great hope, tremendous hope, for what we're doing right now, (and) for what we will be doing in the future with our shepherd Cardinal Seán," said Bishop-elect Reed.
"I believe that every parish church can be full at weekend Masses every weekend. I believe that every family home or condo or apartment, and even for those families who have no roof over their heads... can be a center for love and compassion," he said.
Bishop-elect Reed said he has chosen the motto "Jesus Spec Unica," or "Jesus is our only hope."
In his statement, Bishop-elect O'Connell thanked Pope Francis, Cardinal O'Malley and all those who helped him throughout his ministry.
"I have not arrived at this podium unaided. I have gotten to this place helped, protected, prayed for, and loved by so many bishops, priests, religious men and women, and laypeople. They are the only reason I'm here," he said.
"I'm so happy (my mother) can share this joy, as well as my two brothers, my sister, my nieces and nephews and extended family," said Bishop-elect O'Connell, adding that he is sure his late father, "is rubbing his hands together with delight" somewhere in heaven.
Speaking of being notified that he had been named a bishop, he said, "I love the priesthood, and I would have been quite happy to serve in this capacity for the rest of my life, but I have never said no to the Church, and I'm not going to start now."
Bishop-elect O'Connell has chosen the motto "Invenimus Messiam," or "we have found the Messiah." He noted St. Andrew said those words to his brother, who became Peter, before bringing him, and later many others, to Jesus.
"Please, God, I will bring people to meet the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is my Lord, and to whom I owe everything in my life, and now to whom I serve in a different way as bishop," Bishop-elect O'Connell said.
"I am most grateful to Pope Francis who has recognized in these priests the qualities necessary to be bishops in the Church, and I am grateful too, to Bishops-elect Reed and O'Connell for their willingness to accept this call to service," said O'Malley during the press conference.
"Bishops-elect Reed and Connell are two very good examples of the goodness of the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Boston," the cardinal continued.
The archdiocese's Secretary for Evangelization and Discipleship Father Paul Soper attended the press conference, and afterwards told The Pilot that the occasion was "such a great day for the Church of Boston."
"We've been talking with a lot of Boston priests and the folks who work at a Pastoral Center... and everyone is just saying 'This is so good, this is so right.' 'Right' is the word people keep coming back to," he said.
During the conference, it was announced that Father Reed and Father O'Connell will be ordained to the episcopacy by Cardinal O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Aug. 24.