Cardinal-designate speaks on Lent, consistory

ROME — Cardinal-designate Seán P. O’Malley led the media on a tour of the “Ponte degli Angeli,” or Bridge of the Angels, March 22, two days before being elevated to the position of cardinal.

“I like to walk on this bridge,” he told the reporters. “It’s a very peaceful place.”

The bridge, which spans the Tiber River, depicts Sts. Peter and Paul and 10 angels, each holding a symbol of the passion of Jesus Christ. Cardinal-designate O’Malley began his walking tour by explaining the significance of each item held by the angels, intermittently answering questions related to the consistory from members of the media.

The cardinal-designate, who admitted he is “still trying to take it [his appointment as cardinal] all in,” emphasized his desire to keep the celebrations “low-key,” in part because of all the archdiocese has been through in recent years.

“I deliberately did not organize a pilgrimage from the archdiocese,” he said. Yet, he seemed pleased that over 500 people are attending the consistory from the Boston area.

In addition, nearly 60 family members, what the cardinal-designate refers to as “the O’Malley clan,” will also attend the consistory.

“I don’t know if Rome is ready for this,” he joked.

“It will be a reunion of sorts,” he smiled, noting that people from each of his former dioceses — the West Indies, Fall River and West Palm Beach, Fla. — have also traveled to Rome for the event.

The cardinal-designate also spoke of plans to hold a celebratory Mass in each region of the archdiocese upon his return to Boston.

“I prefer to keep things simple,” he shrugged — then pensively added, “I guess that is my style.”