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Boston greets Bishop Law

By James L. Franklin, Globe Staff, 3/22/1984

ishop Bernard F. Law arrived at Logan Airport this morning, declaring he has "a sense of great hope" for Boston and its church.

With the Harvard band playing in a jammed hallway at the Eastern Airlines terminal, the Catholic archbishop-designate was met by his six auxiliary bishops and Mayor Raymond L. Flynn.

The bishop was smiling and energetic, even though he said he had been awake with anticipation since 3:15 a.m. He stopped again and again to shake hands with well-wishers and to kiss babies.

"The immediate challenge is to come to know a very friendly people," he told an impromptu news conference.

He said that as the various services and receptions planned for his arrival unfold over the next two weeks around the archdiocese "I hope to come face to face with people here."

The bishop said he wants to serve "both my own community and the wider community with a message of hope for today."

He said he has not set a detailed list of priorities for his work in Boston but said he would outline some of them in his sermon this afternoon to the clergy of the archdiocese at ceremonies at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

After waking this morning, Bishop Law said, he was comforted by a sense that everything does not depend on him alone. "It depends in the first place on the Lord and also on the many men and women associated with me in the work of the archdiocese."

Asked if he was surprised by the welcome, the bishop said, "Never in my whole life have I received such attention.

"There is no comparison to the response I have received elsewhere," he said. "Because I am the same person I believe the attention is for the office, for the Archdiocese of Boston."

His "greatest hope," he said, "is to be a faithful and good shepherd, a pastor for the archdiocese and for the men and women that constitute the archdiocese . . . and also to be a pastor at the service of the wider community."

Church officials, acting at the bishop's direction, had downplayed the bishop's arrival because he had been greeted by public officials and other dignitaries in his first visit to Boston three days after his appointment.

Mayor Flynn, who greeted the bishop at the arrival gate, later hailed him as playing "an integral part in the new spirit of pride and togetherness in Boston.

"This city is coming together," Flynn said. "The archbishop is reaching out to everybody, bringing together people of diverse backgounds, and responding to a wide range of concerns . . . economic justice for the people of the city, particularly attending to the needs of the poor, the elderly and the destitute."

Watching the crowd clustered around the archbishop's car as he set off for the cathedral, one of his auxiliary bishops, Bishop John M. D'Arcy of Lowell, said, "He's what Boston needs."

Bishop Law arrived from Washington, where he attended a meeting of the top leadership of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

After the airport, he made brief stops at the graves of three of his predecessors, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and at St. John's Seminary in Brighton.

He was to be met at his Brighton residence by the Boston College band, and planned to welcome a large group of Missourians here to attend his installation tomorrow as head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Also today, the bishop planned to return to the cathedral to lead a prayer service with Boston's Catholic bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians and go through the brief ceremony by which he takes legal and canonical control of the archdiocese.

That vesper service will be televised by Channels 4, 5 and 7, as will the 2:30 p.m. Mass of installation tomorrow. In addition, Ch. 44 will broadcast the liturgy tomorrow, including sign interpretation for those with poor hearing.

Tickets for the installation tomorrow were all allocated more than two weeks ago, but the archbishop-designate also has planned installation Masses in the four regions of the archdiocese. The first will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Immaculate Conception Church, Weymouth.

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 3/22/1984.
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