Cardinal O’Malley was gracious guest in Westport

To the editor:

Cardinal O’Malley, an acquaintance of many of us, has been mentioned as a long-shot possibility to be named Pope. Count me in on the legions of people who had no doubt about his papability.

My most notable involvement with then Bishop O’Malley was in 2002. I organized and emceed a major function “Celebrating Priesthood” honoring Fr. Pierre Lachance, a friend of mine retiring after 60 years as a priest.

I centered the celebration around the presence of Bishop O’Malley. Over 25 priests, deacons, brothers, nuns, plus some 150 others attended a gala event at White’s of Westport. I had no head table, just a center table around which all other tables were placed, noting that, “We center around our clergy and church here as in life.”

I will not go into detail about the piano music, violin music, dignitaries, and countless niceties I organized. It was a grand function, the best I ever planned. How did I get such an honor for all of this? How do most of us get opportunities like this — I volunteered, of course.

And now the biggie: The then-Bishop was not going to speak, but after I surprised him by roasting him with Irish jokes he actually ran up onto the stage and took over the mic, got back at me with humor, then spoke for an unplanned minute!

It does not end here. A dignitary at his head table had to leave; the bishop invited me to sit next to him. After much table chatter, he asked me, “Have you thought of becoming a deacon?” My response? “Why, do you want to get back at me?” Happily, he saw this reply as humorous. He is noted for his Irish humor, very much so. Thank God for such a wonderful man in our midst.

Daryl Gonyon

Fall River

Mr. Gonyon is a former Westport town administrator

Authors

Top