National News

Cardinal O’Malley to Meet with Lawmakers

by Christopher S. Pineo

BOSTON (CNS) – Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has invited state lawmakers whose districts are within the Boston Archdiocese to an informal private meeting Oct. 17 to help them “get to know us” and to build relationships, said archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon.

He said the meeting at the Union Club on Beacon Hill will be the first between the cardinal and a large group of lawmakers since he became Boston’s archbishop in 2003.

“We have heard from legislators that they don’t really know us, and that’s understandable. It has been a rough 10 years,” Donilon said. “So, we want to take the opportunity to sit and talk to them – talk to them about the footprint of the archdiocese, talk to them about the impact that we have in cities and towns that they represent, give them an update as to what we’re doing in our social justice and schools areas, answer their questions and just keep it informal.”

He added, “It’s about relationship-building.”

Donilon said that, while the meeting is the first of its kind, the cardinal is in regular contact with elected officials.

“The cardinal has met with the governor, and the senate president, and the speaker. He has regular discussions and meetings with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and certain legislators who ask to come in and see him, but we have never done anything this big,” he said.

He said the cardinal has reached a point recently where his schedule allows more of a focus on these kinds of informal connections, such as the one with Gov. Deval Patrick that Donilon said led to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross hosting an interfaith prayer service as Boston reacted to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

“He has just been swamped with his duties, as both a cardinal running a diocese, and trying to rebuild the archdiocese. So we are at a point now where we can have these kind of discussions and then try to build relationships,” he said.

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