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The air itself was charged with anticipation. As priests vested in the lower chapel of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on July 30 for the Installation Mass of Archbishop Seán O’Malley, a resurgence of hope was obvious — hope in their Church, hope in their ministry, hope in their God.
Speaking with The Pilot, several priests and deacons offered their opinions and insights as Archbishop O’Malley took the reins of the archdiocese.
"I'm absolutely thrilled that the Holy Father has given us such a holy man to serve as our archbishop," declared Father Raymond van De Moortell, parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop. "The Church of Boston will be graced. God knows what He is doing."
"I'm very proud of the archbishop and happy for the people of Boston," said Father Donald Lippert, OFM Cap. Father Lippert worked alongside Archbishop O'Malley at the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, D.C., and was the very first priest Archbishop O'Malley ordained. "I think that he will be able to bring together the talents of the priests and the people of the archdiocese to move forward the process of healing."
Father Marcelo Boschi, a Don Orione priest from Argentina now working with the Hispanic community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Revere, believes the appointment of the new archbishop is “truly providential.”
Although he arrived in the country only 10 days before the installation, Father Boschi asserted that “if you know just a little bit of the spirituality of St. Francis, you know that this is what is needed in Boston at this time.”
"The humility, the simplicity and the prayerfulness of the Capuchin Franciscan is exactly what can bring healing to this hurting diocese," he continued.
"This is the beginning of something bigger. Times of crisis are always a good way to grow. We need to fast and pray for the bishop," said Father Martin Borzadek, a priest originally from Poland who is doing his doctorate at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Father Borzadek attended the Installation Mass while staying at Holy Rosary Parish in Winthrop for the summer.
"You can actually see that there's a sense of change -- there's hope again," commented Deacon Charles Cornell, a permanent deacon at St. Isidore Parish in Stow. "It's really good to see everybody excited again -- for far too long all there has been is constant negativity."
Deacon Cornell stressed his thankfulness for the “beginning of joy and positiveness” which, he hopes, “will tip the balance” and help both the Church and the abuse victims to heal.
After the Installation Mass, the hopefulness continued to flourish.
"I think that was the best sermon I've ever heard in my life," commented Father George Szal, SM, a prison chaplain. "I didn't know if I wanted him to keep talking forever or to be done so I could jump into action. This is certainly a wonderful thing that has happened to the archdiocese."
Father Michael MacInnis, OFM, parochial vicar at St. Ann Parish in Marlborough, agreed. “His words not only bring hope for the archdiocese, but also for priests by bringing a real spirit of support,” he said.
Meghan Dorney contributed to this story.