Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley presents a pectoral cross and zucchetto, the symbol of the bishop’s office, to Bishops-designate John A. Dooher and Robert F. Hennessey at a press conference at St. John’s Seminary Oct. 12. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy
BRIGHTON — Bishop-designate John A. Dooher, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Dedham and Bishop-designate Robert F. Hennessey, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston, received two of the symbols of the office — the pectoral cross and zucchetto — from Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley at an Oct. 12 press conference announcing their appointments.
The two parish priests from the Archdiocese of Boston were appointed auxiliary bishops by Pope Benedict XVI earlier in the day.
“As we prepare to welcome the relics of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, we rejoice that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has blessed the Archdiocese of Boston by naming two of our most distinguished parish priests Father Dooher and Father Hennessey as auxiliary bishops,” Cardinal O’Malley said.
Bishop-designate Dooher will serve as South Regional Bishop and Bishop-designate Hennessey will serve as Central Regional Bishop.
The archdiocese also announced that the pope has granted Central Regional Bishop John P. Boles’ request for retirement. Ordained to the episcopate in 1992, Bishop Boles turned 75 in January 2005. Canon Law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope at age 75.
“I want to publicly thank and acknowledge the wonderful work and service of Bishop John Boles,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “I look forward to his ministry as bishop emeritus.”
The cardinal said the bishop has been an “intelligent, compassionate and deeply spiritual guide for the Catholics of Boston."
The south region has been headed by Interim Regional Vicar Msgr. Edwin D. Condon since Bishop Richard J. Malone was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Portland, Maine on 2004.
Bishops Emilio S. Allué, Walter J. Edyvean and Francis X. Irwin from the Merrimack, west and north regions respectively were present at the conference.
As priests of the archdiocese, Bishops-designate Dooher and Hennessey have overseen tremendous growth and vitality at their parishes and both have encouraged young people to participate more fully in the life of the Church, Cardinal O’Malley said.
“Both have consistently placed the needs of the Church and the people of God ahead of their own needs and desires, and in doing so have been living witnesses to what Christ told us — to love one another as He loved us,” he said.
The cardinal added that he hopes the bishops-designate will continue to revitalize parishes and reach out to inactive Catholics as auxiliary bishops. As the archdiocese moves forward with renewal and rebuilding, it is important for parishioners and pastors to share their faith, hopes and concerns with their regional bishops, he said.
“Here in the Archdiocese of Boston auxiliaries are essential to my ministry as archbishop,” he said. “As you know the archdiocese is very large with a population of over 2 million Catholics and I have been asked to assume new responsibilities in connection with my call as cardinal.”
Speaking at the press conference, Bishop-designate Dooher said he was “profoundly and deeply grateful” for his appointment and found the news “overwhelming.”
Bishop-designate Dooher was born in Dorchester and ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in 1969. He served as parochial vicar at both St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish in South Weymouth from 1969-1974 and St. Augustine Parish in South Boston from 1974-1982. He was then director of the Office of Spiritual Development for seven years. He served as administrator at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, St. Vincent de Paul Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel in South Boston before he was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s in 1996. He is currently a member of the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors.
He said that he eagerly anticipates his new duties as a bishop.
“I look forward to it,” he said. “May the grace of God be with me, be with God’s people in the days to come.”
Bishop-designate Dooher said he hopes to continue to work with the clergy, religious and laity to make parishes “come alive.”
Bishop-designate Hennessey, who delivered his remarks in both English and Spanish, echoed those sentiments, saying he is looking forward to working with all of the people of the archdiocese. He added that he plans to continue to be available and welcoming to people to continue healing archdiocese.
He was born in South Boston and ordained in 1978. Bishop-designate Hennessey served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Hanson from 1978-1981, St. Peter Parish in Plymouth from 1981-1982 and St. Joseph Parish in Needham from 1983-1986. He pursued graduate studies at Moreau Seminary at Notre Dame in Indiana and served for six years in the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, a program founded by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing for priests to serve the Church in Latin America. He was appointed to Most Holy Redeemer in 1994 and has also served as administrator at Our Lady of the Airways Chapel at Logan Airport and at Our Lady of the Assumption in East Boston. Bishop-designate Hennessey is currently on the Clergy Personnel Board and is a member of both the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors.
Like Bishop-designate Dooher, Bishop-designate Hennessey expressed his gratitude for the appointment and closed his comments with a prayer.
“I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, protector of the unborn, to intercede for me to help me to follow in the footsteps of her Son, Jesus Christ,” he said.