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At Holy Cross Cathedral, mixed emotions as O'Malley's name is not called

Posted by Roy Greene  March 13, 2013 04:23 PM

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By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent

As the world was waiting to learn the identity of the new pope this afternoon, three men reverently wrapped yellow bunting around the front door of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

The bunting, a symbol of the papacy, would have carried special meaning if Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s name had rang out in Rome. Instead, the three men, and others near the Washington Street cathedral were left with mixed emotions after Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope. He chose the papal name Francis.

“I’m disappointed, but also glad because Cardinal O’Malley will be returning back to Boston,” said Robert Travers Jr. of Cambridge, 38, a pastoral associate at the cathedral.

More than a dozen camera crews gathered at the church, where O’Malley lives in a nearby apartment.

In a statement, O'Malley congratulated the new pope.

"I join my brother Cardinals in giving thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis I, the 266th successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ," he said. "The clergy, religious, and laity of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrate this blessing for the Church.

Both Travers and his father, Robert Sr., a 77-year-old volunteer at the church, have high hopes for Pope Francis. They helped place the bunting.

“I hope the new pope will bring new and younger ideas for priests, nuns and laypeople,” Robert Sr. said.

Joe Burton, 54, Weymouth, who was initially unaware of the papal choice, said near the cathedral that he believed electing a South American to lead the Catholic faithful made sense.

“It gets it out of European exclusivity,” he said.

Burton also said he hoped that the change would eventually help usher in new thinking in the Catholic Church.

“Marriage of priests, I think, would be a positive,” he said. “More involvement of women would be positive. Those issues have caused a lot of problems in our church, and those are man-made rules.”

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