Preparations are underway for the July 30 installation of Boston’s sixth archbishop, with Archbishop Seán O’Malley, himself, taking an active role in the planning.
"Archbishop O'Malley is very much a part of the plans and he has made many of the decisions regarding the installation itself and the people that he wishes to have coming," explained Father Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the archdiocese. He noted that Archbishop O'Malley has been in telephone communication with the archdiocese.
According to Father Coyne, a top priority is to make the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the site of the installation, as comfortable as possible for the 2,000-plus guests expected to attend. The cathedral seats between 2,300 and 2,400 people.
The archdiocese is working to improve ventilation in the cathedral and is considering installing television monitors so that those sitting at the rear of the cathedral will better see what is happening at the altar.
Archbishop O’Malley has expressed a desire to keep his installation as modest as possible, which involves limiting the number of guests. Admittance into the cathedral will be by invitation only.
In addition to Archbishop O’Malley’s family and personal invitees (including several bishops), the guest list is expected to include two representatives from each parish in the archdiocese, the priests of the archdiocese, chancery employees, the current and former bishops of New England, including Cardinal Bernard Law who will preside at the Mass together with other cardinals in attendance, several government officials and representatives from the ecumenical and interreligious community.
The Mass will be simulcast at nearby Cathedral High School to accommodate those who have not received an invitation. Boston Catholic Television (BCTV) will also broadcast the installation, as will several local television stations.
The ceremony is expected to begin at 10:40 a.m. with a procession including cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, altar servers, Knights and Ladies of Malta and of the Holy Sepulcher, and Knights of Columbus.
The Mass of installation is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the apostolic nuncio in the United States will be the installing prelate. According to custom, Archbishop O’Malley will be greeted at the front door by the cathedral’s rector, Msgr. Frederick Murphy, who will present him with a crucifix. After kissing the crucifix, Archbishop O’Malley will then process to the sanctuary. Archbishop Montalvo will then read the papal letter of appointment and show it to the consultors of the archdiocese. The nuncio will lead Archbishop O’Malley to the cathedra — the bishop’s chair. Once he is seated, the nuncio will present him with his crosier, or pastoral staff. He is then the archbishop of Boston. He will then greet representatives of the archdiocese and members of the civic community and the Mass will continue as usual.
A small reception for invited guests will take place at St. John Seminary following the installation.
Archbishop O’Malley is scheduled to return to Massachusetts by July 22 for the ordination of Bishop-elect George Coleman as his successor in the Fall River diocese. He is expected to remain in the Boston area at that time.
Plans have not yet been finalized as to where Archbishop O’Malley will reside following his installation.
Father Robert O’Grady contributed to this article