Back to homepage Arts | Entertainment Boston Globe Online BostonWorks Real Estate Sports digitalMass Travel The Boston Globe Spotlight Investigation Abuse in the Catholic Church
HomePredator priestsScandal and coverupThe victimsThe financial costOpinion
Cardinal Law and the laityThe church's responseThe clergyInvestigations and lawsuits
Interactive2002 scandal overviewParish mapExtrasArchivesDocumentsAbout this site
 Latest coverage

March 23
Law's words frame new play

March 2
Wary Catholics return to church

January 25, 2004
Churches report attendance up

January 4, 2004
Dot parish struggles to survive

December 28
Hudson fill-in priest welcomed

December 12
Law prays daily for diocese

November 22
Assignment for Law expected

November 20
Policies on VOTF reconsidered

September 19
Crisis issues in church's future

September 18
Meeting ban at parish is lifted

August 4
O'Malley given warm welcome

August 1
Lawmakers see shades of gray

July 31
An angry protest, and prayers
Voices of protest and support
Three in crowd bound in hope
At BC, optimistic students watch

July 29
Lay group to engage O'Malley

July 24
Many outraged after AG's report

July 21
Law to skip bishop installation

July 18
O'Malley invites Law, victims

July 11
Bishops seek private opinions

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

  Cardinal Bernard Law gestures as he speaks during the celebration of Mass at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston (AP Photo)

A rousing send-off for Law before conference

By Michael S. Rosenwald, Globe Staff, 6/10/2002

Just days before leaving for a critical meeting of bishops in Dallas, Cardinal Bernard F. Law celebrated one of his most vigorous and animated Masses in months yesterday, pounding his fist during his homily and declaring, ''We are one in the human family.''

The Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was Law's last there until the end of summer. He customarily uses the time to attend retreats and visit other churches. Nearly 400 parishioners packed the pews yesterday and gave him a rousing send-off.

Many, if not most, were drawn by the annual multicultural Mass, with the Archdiocese of Boston gathering hundreds of area Catholics and priests native to a dozen or so countries: Haiti, Italy, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, to name a few.

Law has been hounded by the media and Catholics around the world, but his strongest defenders have been local minorities. Last month, dozens of Hispanic supporters chanting in support of Law on the front steps of the cathedral faced harsh words from protesters.

The cardinal pointed out that the cathedral was built two centuries ago by immigrants and that it has been a place of worship for people of all races ever since. ''What an impovishered church we would be were it not for the immigrant presence here,'' he said.

During his homily, Law asked parishioners to stand when he read off their native country: Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Republic of Congo. He rolled his tongue while pronouncing the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries. Applause followed, louder and louder with each country, reaching a crescendo when dozens of Brazilians leapt to their feet and cried out upon hearing their nation announced.

At one point, a group of Haitian women danced in front of the altar to their native music, performed by a special choir.

''We gather under this altar not because of our fundamental differences,'' Law said, ''but because of our unity. We are one in the human family. God is our father.''

''We are equal in love, equal in dignity, one in faith,'' he added.

Law, who watched intently as Bible readings were spoken in Cape Verdean and Vietnamese, also asked for special prayers for him and other bishops who will gather Thursday in Dallas for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' meeting.

At the much-anticipated meeting, church leaders are expected to devise a national policy for dealing with sexual abuse by clergy.

''We will be attempting to respond nationally to what we have responded to locally in terms of our policy in handling cases of sexual abuse by clergy,'' Law said yesterday, raising the issue for the first time in nearly a month. ''In Dallas, we will be looking at what we can establish nationally as a norm, and so I would ask your prayers for that.''

Meanwhile, a priest in East Longmeadow announced this weekend that he was withholding weekly collections for the Springfield Diocese, according to the Springfield Union-News Sunday Republican.

The Rev. James J. Scahill of St. Michael's parish told parishioners of his plans because the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, bishop of the diocese, has not removed a convicted child molester and priest from the payroll.

Yesterday, Law also announced special days of prayer - Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the cathedral, following daily Mass - to coincide with the bishops' meeting. Law is bringing with him recommendations from a special commission he appointed in January to look at the best ways to protect children.

Law said the commission has ''greatly aided'' him.

The cardinal, who hasn't talked to reporters in months, did not disclose how he feels about the upcoming meeting, but he appeared relaxed. After Mass, he greeted parishioners as usual. He spent several minutes with some, addressed some in Spanish, posed for pictures, let parishioners kiss his ring, and blessed them one by one.

Michael S. Rosenwald can be reached by e-mail at

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 6/10/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Advertise | Contact us | Privacy policy