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Spotlight Report

Bishop ready to begin new job

Says responsibilities are 'intimidating'

By Globe Staff, 7/26/2003

Archbishop-designate Sean Patrick O'Malley said yesterday that he finds his new responsibilities ''intimidating'' and that he is praying for help to move beyond the ''pain that we've gone through in these last several months.''

O'Malley, 59, will be installed on Wednesday as the sixth archbishop of the nation's fourth largest Catholic diocese.

''I'm sure it will be lovely,'' O'Malley said during an appearance on Boston Catholic Television. ''I'll be glad when all the hoopla's over though. You know it's an important event, and I look forward to it.''

O'Malley said he is anxious to meet with pastors, priests, and parish councils. ''It's just that there's so many of them compared to the other dioceses that I worked in,'' he said. ''It'll take a while to learn all the names and the faces.''

Asked his reaction when informed by his Vatican superiors that he was being transferred from Palm Beach, where he was installed just last year, to Boston, O'Malley replied simply: ''It was disbelief.''

O'Malley's installation will come just a week after state Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly called the archdiocese's clergy sexual abuse scandal ''the greatest tragedy to befall children -- ever'' in Massachusetts.

O'Malley did not directly address the scandal in his television appearance yesterday.

''It's intimidating to come into this kind of responsibility,'' he said. ''And I accept it in faith, and I accept it knowing that the prayers of my priests and people will be there to support me.''

Also yesterday, a spokesman for the archdiocese, the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, announced the list of public officials invited to O'Malley's installation. Those invited include Governor Mitt Romney, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans, Fire Commissioner Paul Christian, and members of the US House of Representatives whose districts overlap the Archdiocese of Boston.

Coyne said he did not know which civic leaders would attend because the officials were not asked to RSVP.

This story ran on page B4 of the Boston Globe on 7/26/2003.
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