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For all, it was a day for reaching out

By Ross Gelbspan, Globe Staff, 3/23/1984

oston's new archbishop, Bernard F. Law, was by turns relaxed, humorous, gregarious and solemn yesterday as he arrived to a hope-filled and exuberant greeting from members of his new flock.

Showing no sign of fatigue despite his abbreviated sleep the night before, Archbishop Law arrived at Logan Airport shortly after 11 yesterday morning, saying he hoped his arrival here would "communicate a sense of great hope to Boston."

When he disembarked from his plane with airport chaplain Bernard McLaughlin, the archbishop was met by the auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese and by Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn.

After a short greeting at the gate, Archbishop Law walked up the gangway into a swarm of photographers, reporters and musicians of the Harvard Band, working the happy crowd as well as any election-year candidate.

After receiving a bouquet of roses, he paused for about half a minute to bless 13-year-old Marc Tammaro, a wheelchair-bound 7th grader from Billerica, while the boy's father, State Trooper Carmine Tammaro, beamed.

A Harvard graduate, Archbishop Law moved on past the deafening sound of "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard," amplified by the narrow passageway, stopped to chat with a group of young children, and proceded to an airport conference room.

"Never in my whole life have I received such attention. There is no comparison to the response I have received elsewhere . . . . It is very humbling," he said, because "the attention is for the office, for the Archdiocese of Boston."

But judging from the remarks of people who greeted him throughout the day, much of the response was for him.

During the brief press conference at the airport, the plain-spoken prelate reached out immediately for the support of his new flock.

"I woke up wide awake at 3:15 this morning," he told the room full of reporters and photographers, "and began to read the first Office of Readings (in which* Moses is told by his father-in-law: It doesn't depend on you. It needs the help of many people.'

"This was very consoling," Archbishop Law continued. "It doesn't depend on me. 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."

After the press conference, Archbishop Law stood in the hall listening to the music and wearing a "Harvard Band" cap. "I'm glad you're playing so loud," he joked, "so I don't have to sing."

Watching the crowd clustered around his car as it pulled away from the Eastern terminal to take him to the Cathedral, Bishop John M. D'Arcy of Lowell echoed the remarks of many, saying, "He's what Boston needs."

At the Cathedral, Archbishop Law descended briefly into the basement crypt, where he prayed for a moment at the graves of Bishop John B. Fitzpatrick and Archbishop John J. Williams, the first archbishop of Boston.

From the Cathedral, a police escort whisked him out to the archbishop's residence off Commonwealth avenue in Brighton. There, he and several churchmen ascended the hill to a small mausoleum housing the grave of Archbishop William Henry O'Connell.

He entered alone, knelt, rested his forehead on his arm and prayed. After a few moments, he looked up and, for a long moment, gazed at the stained-glass window on the back wall of the crypt, apparently lost in thought. Then he summoned the dozen or so waiting clergyment to pray with him.

Later he explained, "I went (to the graves of the departed bishops* to identify myself with my predecessors in prayer."

At the archbishop's residence at the top of the hill, he was greeted by a group of students, teachers and workers from the seminary -- as well as the 20- member Boston College band.

At one point, Archbishop Law was introduced to BC band president Barry Hartoumian. When he asked the young man what he was studying, he was told business administration.

"That's good," the archbishop said, "We need a management expert around here. Of course, you'd have to put in six more years (studying for the priesthood* before that. Then he was led into the residence, where he hosted a lunch for a group of clergymen from Missouri. At one point, he walked into the kitchen to thank the two motorcycle policemen who had escorted him from the airport.

After saying goodby to his luncheon guests, Archbishop Law had two more visits before leaving for the ride to the Cathedral. The first guest, according to a chancery spokesman, was Archbishop Pio Laghi, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, who had flown up from Washington for the installation.

The second group of visitors consisted of seven fourth graders from the nearby Mt. Alvernia School. They had written Archbishop Law a welcoming letter and, at the impromptu suggestion of their teacher, came to deliver it to a caretaker at the residence. Instead, they were welcomed into the archbishop's home.

As they came out in a state of high excitement shortly after 3 p.m., they held up photos of the new archbishop, exclaiming:

"He actually talked with us." Said one of the children: "He brought us spring."

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 3/23/1984.
© Copyright Globe Newspaper Company.


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