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A new Archbishop for Boston Boston Globe
JULY 30, 2003
A new Archbishop for Boston Boston Globe

Sandwiches, chips were bill of fare

By Geoff Edgers, Globe Staff, 7/31/2003

He is a man who loves opera and literature. But Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley is no food snob. Just consider the scene at the invitation-only, post-installation party. They gathered under a tent on the lawn at St. John's Seminary in Brighton. There were roast beef and tuna sandwiches, potato chips, and cookies. Nuns reached into icy plastic buckets to pull outsodas.

This was a far cry from the 1984 reception for Cardinal Bernard Law, held at the Park Plaza Hotel. As Globe society columnist John Robinson described that event, some of the several thousand guests shed "their mink coats and Burberrys"' and headed "for the bar and the meatless canape table."

For Boston Catholics, the new leader is decidedly low-key. He loves pizza and, in his homily, even criticized those whose quest for success includes being "good-looking and thin."

While priests generally understood that they were to address Cardinal Law as "your eminence," O'Malley would like to be known as "Archbishop Sean."

But did that mean O'Malley, the supposedly approachable, joke-telling holy man, might be hanging by the chip bowl with a Sprite in one hand? Sorry, those wanting to see the archbishop had to wait their turns. Cathy Flynn, wife of former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, took a place in line. But after an hour, she gave up.

Members of O'Malley's family didn't even bother. They planned to see him that evening, at a dinner thrown by relatives.

Though he wasn't mingling with guests on the lawn, people who know O'Malley said the catering had his fingerprints on it. His aunt, Pat O'Malley, remembers visiting him in Florida. He told her and several other family members he would provide breakfast. He did, making a run to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee and doughnuts.

"He would probably like to be having a sandwich with everybody but he knows what his duty is," said Sandy O'Malley, a cousin.

This story ran on page A18 of the Boston Globe on 7/31/2003.
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