O’Malley celebrates first Mass as cardinal

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BOSTON (AP) – Kaye O’Connell said she hopes Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s elevation into the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church provides a morale boost for the Boston Archdiocese.

“Hopefully, he will bring some Catholics back that left the church,” the 76-year-old said as she entered St. Theresa of Avila in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood.

St. Theresa’s is where O’Malley on Saturday celebrated his first Mass since being elevated to the elite College of Cardinals – the “princes” of the Roman Catholic Church.

On Sunday, he plans to celebrate Mass in Norwood. Next week, he heads to Lawrence.

“After he was elevated to cardinal he decided he wanted to be out with the people rather than only at the Cathedral (of the Holy Cross),” archdiocesan spokesman Kevin Shea said Saturday as parishioners entered the church.

O’Malley and 15 others became cardinals March 24 in a Vatican City ceremony. Pope Benedict XVI embraced O’Malley and placed a crimson hat on his head in a ritual-filled ceremony.

The cardinals’ primary task is electing a pope but they also are called on to advise the pontiff on running the church.

When O’Malley took the Boston job in 2003 at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal, he inherited a wounded church. He quickly settled lawsuits with more than 500 abuse victims, and began a painful financial reorganization that including unpopular church closings.

He succeeded Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned after his failure to remove abusive priests from ministry.

Outside St. Theresa’s on Saturday, O’Connell said she was disappointed by Law, but energized by O’Malley.

“I came today because I’m delighted to have our wonderful cardinal here,” she said. “We’re here to support him.”

The 2.1 million-member Boston archdiocese is the nation’s fourth-largest.

AP-ES-04-01-06 1805EST

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