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An 'encouraged' Archbishop Law ordains 7 priests

By Stephanie Chavez, Globe Staff, 6/10/1984

residing over his first ordination ceremony in Boston, Archbishop Bernard F. Law said yesterday that he is "encouraged by the caliber of men" studying for the priesthood at archdiocesan seminaries.

At a time when the number of new priests in the Roman Catholic Church is low, Archbishop Law said he sees an increasing interest among young men in entering the priesthood.

"Although I can't foresee the future as to whether the numbers will increase, lately interest in the seminary is growing, which is greatly encouraging," Archbishop Law said. "Also, there is much more conciousness in the church about the importance of the role of members who are not ordained."

In a two-hour ceremony and Mass yesterday morning at Holy Cross Cathedral in the South End, the new head of the Archdiocese of Boston administered the rites of ordination to seven men.

Archbishop Law said he believes the number of ordinations in the archdiocese will double next year. "I am frankly encouraged by the caliber of men I see here," he said.

In his sermon to the new priests and hundreds of people in the cathedral, Archbishop Law said the men have not been ordained into positions of power or authority but have been ordained into a life of service. He said the authority in their ministry comes from Jesus Christ.

"This is not a matter of power. These men have not been empowered in the worldly sense," Archbishop Law said. "They have been empowered to serve."

The rites of ordination are both a celebration and a time for solemn rituals -- warm, strong applause from the congregation welcomed the candidates as the ceremony began and organ music resounded through the cathedral as the bishop laid his hands on the men, consecrating them in their new vocation.

Holding his pastoral staff and dressed in white vestments and red miter, Archbishop Law sat in a chair in front of the altar facing the seven candidates kneeling before him in white cassocks.

The ceremony is made up of 13 rituals in which the men promise obedience to the church, are anointed with oil, receive a chalice and paten and are blessed and prayed for by church officials participating in the ceremony.

Ordained were: Douglas V. Borowski, Nicholas C. Ciccone Jr., Lawrence E. Novello, Joseph Charles O'Brien, Daniel Riley, Joseph Michael Rossi and Christopher Francis Schiavone.

At the beginning of the ceremony, about 12 women and a man wearing bright blue stoles with "ordain women" printed on them quietly left their pews near the front of the church and walked out down the center aisle.

Women are not allowed to enter into the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Chruch.

The demonstrators, members of the Boston chapter of the national Women's Ordination Conference, said that because ordination is a public church ceremony, they felt it was an appropriate time to bring their cause before church members.

"As I walked out I felt like crying I was so sad," said Lorna Hochstein, 34, a theology instructor. "More than anger, more than triumph I felt sad."

"I kept hearing the words our brother, our sons, these men, and I thought, how exclusive, how wrong," said Kerry Maloney, 25, of Whitman.

Archbishop Law has said that his position on the ordination of women is the same as the church's.

"Women and men are equal and to deny that is a sin, but only men may be ordained," he said at a press conference in January. "That is a paradox, just as it is a paradox to say that Jesus is both God and man."

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 6/10/1984.
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