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Bishops Reed and O'Connell ordained auxiliaries for Boston Archdiocese

By Mark Labbe Pilot Staff
Posted: 9/2/2016

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Bishops Reed and O'Connell are pictured following their ordination. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

BOSTON -- In a packed Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley ordained Bishop Robert P. Reed and Bishop Mark O'Connell auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Boston, Aug. 24.

Following the opening procession, which included hundreds of priests and nearly three dozen bishops and archbishops from around the region and the country, the Rite of Ordination began with the presentation of the bishops-elect to Cardinal O'Malley. After the papal mandates for the ordination of Bishops Reed and O'Connell were presented to Cardinal O'Malley and the assembly, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre then read the mandates out loud to the assembly.

The assembly, having heard the mandates, applauded as a sign of consent of the two bishops-elect becoming bishops.

In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley spoke of the apostles and how their love of God and their devotion to their vocations, their "gifts of ministry," have been "passed on with the laying on of hands."

"Today, in our presence, Father Reed and Father O'Connell will receive the same ordination and share in the apostles' role. Jesus is calling these men to follow him, and to be shepherds after his own heart," said the cardinal.

"We commend your ministry to the loving protection of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd -- may she teach you to have a shepherd's heart. As bishops born in the Jubilee of Mercy, may you have a special love for the lost sheep, who was Jesus' priority, and may your ministry allow many to glimpse the merciful face of the Father and the tender love of the good shepherd, Jesus of Nazareth," he continued.

Following the homily, Cardinal O'Malley questioned the bishops-elect on their resolve to perform their duties and uphold the faith. Having answered in the affirmative to the cardinal's questions, the bishops-elect lay prostrate in front of the altar as the assembly prayed the litany of the saints, invoking saints to intercede for the bishops-elect.

The rite continued with the laying on of hands by Cardinal O'Malley, the co-consecrators, Boston's auxiliary bishops and visiting archbishops and bishops from other dioceses, before the cardinal prayed the Prayer of Ordination.

During the prayer, deacons suspended Books of the Gospels over the heads of Bishops Reed and O'Connell, signifying that they are servants to the gospel.

The cardinal then anointed the heads of the newly ordained bishops with chrism oil before presenting each of them with the same Books of the Gospels that were suspended of their heads and commissioning them to evangelize with great patience.

The newly ordained bishops received the symbols of their office: the ring, miter and crozier. After, the bishops present welcomed Bishops Reed and O'Connell into the College of Bishops with the sign of peace, the fraternal kiss. Following the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Bishops Reed and O'Connell processed through the aisles of the cathedral to loud applause, blessing assembly before each offering remarks on their ordination.

Bishop Reed spoke first, and began by thanking Pope Francis, his family, the clergy present, and everyone who worked behind the scenes to plan the ordination, as well as those who attended it or watched it at home.

He noted that he and Bishop O'Connell thought of "this moment of prayer... as an ecclesial one."

"This is a moment for the Church and you, we are the Church, despite any mistakes we might have made, despite mistakes the Church has made, we're all sinners," he said.

"But, we're loved by God without question. And Jesus proved that when he died on that Holy Cross, and he's alive, he's here with us right now. Because of his tremendous mercy, we all have the chance, the hope of going to heaven. That's why I can say to you, Jesus is our only hope," continued Bishop Reed.

In his remarks, Bishop O'Connell offered thanks to Pope Francis, his family, those who prepared the ordination, and clergy members present, drawing particularly attention to the women religious in the room by asking them to stand.

He recalled that, back when he was a "new seminarian," he discovered an "old, 70s church banner" made of burlap with the words "Make me an instrument of your peace."

He said that, ever since, that has become the "prayer of my priesthood."

"Through the years, although there have been challenges, my prayer has never changed. Somehow, God has given me the enormous privilege of being able to serve in this role, and at times I have marveled, almost as an observer, to see how he has indeed used me as his instrument," he said.

"Now, this day, I have become something new, and once again I have no idea, no idea, how God will call me to serve. There are so many people I want to desperately meet and show them their Messiah," he continued, saying that it's important for the Church to reach out to those who "feel that the Church doesn't want them."

"By naming our own weaknesses, and today I'm extremely conscious of my own weaknesses, by naming our own weaknesses we can develop new language, new ways to explain the soundness of our teaching, new ways to show the beauty and authenticity of our faith to the world," said Bishop O'Connell.

Speaking to The Pilot following the ordination, Bishop O'Connell's mother, Margaret O'Connell, said that it was hard to express all the many emotions she was feeling.

"I'm just overflowing," she said.

She said her son "was always happy in any assignment he got,"noting that she thinks he'll be happy in this newest assignment, too.

His aunt, Sister Jean Delaney, O.P., was seated next to Margaret O'Connell. She said that Bishop O'Connell is "always there for us," and has always been, and always will be, very close to her.

"He's not Bishop Mark, he's my Mark. Always has been," she said.