NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

19Jul/112

I don’t go to Church but I know my Churches

Church of the Holy Cross Cathe­dral, Wash­ing­ton Street, Boston’s South End

After work­ing news for the last 45 years and cov­er­ing all too many funer­als at the beau­ti­ful Cathe­dral of The Holy Cross Church in Boston’s South End, I really got to see the full splen­dor of it recently attend­ing my nephew’s wedding.

I knew it was going to be fun when Aunt Kit said to me on the way into the cer­e­mony she will fol­low my lead as to when to stand-up and when to kneel. I looked at her and said I doubt that, you bet­ter watch what every­one else does like me as I am also not a Catholic.

The night even got bet­ter when we found metered park­ing spaces out­side one of the most beau­ti­ful wed­ding recep­tions I had ever been to at the Cop­ley Fair­mount, even if I had to wait till 6:pm for the meters to no longer be active.

Father William Rus­sell (no, not the bas­ket­ball player) deliv­ered the homily for the wed­ding cer­e­mony which brought smiles and laugh­ter to all of us. After we left the church I went up to him and told him what a great (I had to ask him what they called that part of the cer­e­mony and he even spelled it out for me) hom­i­lies he deliv­ered. When I told him I would be blog­ging about this event and asked for his email address so I could for­ward it to him his response was “I don’t even know how to turn a com­puter on,” lucky him.

His hom­i­lies had some great quotes regard­ing how the 29 year old bride had been able to stay sin­gle so long and said; “If I had been a younger man and in a dif­fer­ent line of work Laura would have been spo­ken for already but I think Christo­pher (the groom) was well worth the wait.”

Then he said mar­riage is about com­pro­mise not always 50/50, some­times 90/10 as he told sto­ries about his par­ents. His father loved to watch Sun­day foot­ball on TV. His mother, know­ing this, put a Cross on top of the TV to remind him to lift his eyes to God at least on the com­mer­cials and he left it there to appease her.

He then told us how after din­ner every night he and his five sib­ling broth­ers were sent out of the room and the doors would shut while his mother and father would dis­cuss their day. The boys would stand at the crack of the door try­ing to lis­ten to their con­ver­sa­tion. One that he always remem­bers was when his mother said to his father “why don’t you say you love me?” His father answered “I do.” She asked “do what” and he answered “what you just asked me.” This went back and forth sev­eral times till he said the words “I love you,” which made his mother very happy.  Every­thing Father Rus­sell said was warm, fuzzy and brought a warm feel­ing to the bride and groom along with the guests.

I have lis­tened to and cov­ered Car­di­nals giv­ing memo­r­ial masses, beau­ti­ful Christ­mas cer­e­monies and even Cardinal’s wakes. But the hom­i­lies I heard from Father Bill Rus­sell made the church seem all the more beautiful.

Richard Car­di­nal Cush­ing say­ing the memo­r­ial Mass after Bobby Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion at the Cathe­dral in 1968.

On our way to the church which I had not been in for many years, I repeat­edly told my girls how I had seen Richard Car­di­nal Cushing’s hat raised to the rafters for his funeral cel­e­bra­tion in 1970. The Cardinal’s dying was huge in Boston as he was loved by all. Well maybe not all as some of the vet­eran reporters who had to cover him were not too pleased some­times as when deal­ing with the Car­di­nal it was his way or the highway.

Sit­ting there look­ing at the three car­di­nals hats (I don’t know who the other two hats belong to which hang from the ceil­ing over the altar) made me think back to the many times I cov­ered Car­di­nal Cush­ing. I always believed he knew I was not a Catholic as I never knelt to kiss the ring on his hand but we did shake hands.

I was at the press con­fer­ence in the late 60s at his res­i­dence on Com­mon­wealth Avenue near Boston Col­lege, (who now owns the prop­erty) when he announced he had can­cer. We all thought there was some kind of ill­ness he was suf­fer­ing from but until he told us it was a mys­tery. I was with reporter Ollie Bren­nan who had him­self a Page One story that day. Ollie went on from us to join the Globe as their TV critic.

Think­ing about Car­di­nal Cush­ing brings back a cou­ple of funny mem­o­ries. Jack Whar­ton, a vet­eran reporter (and one the most won­der­ful reporters I ever worked with), was told to call “The Cush” and see how he was. He had missed a cou­ple of masses and there was con­cern about his health. The Car­di­nal answered the phone and when Jack asked him how he was as many of the paper’s read­ers had inquired the Car­di­nal very gruffly said “if my parish­ioners want to know how I feel tell them to call me them­selves!” Next day the Record Amer­i­can printed his phone num­ber with his message.

When Cush­ing died I spent a lot of time at the Cathe­dral and watched the nuns sewing the mate­r­ial on to his hat so it could be raised to the rafters. I watched it being put in place (haven’t located the neg­a­tives yet). The wake lasted a cou­ple of days and pho­tog­ra­pher Gene Dixon had the day shift of sit­ting in a pew wait­ing for photo opportunities.

He came back with two great sto­ries. The Car­di­nal had a huge ring or two on his fin­gers and some of the peo­ple kept touch­ing and pulling them. Gene thought some of these peo­ple wanted to steal the ring off his fin­gers. Offi­cials ended up sewing his arm sleeve to his jacket so his hand could not be raised. The other story was Gene had his two-way radio on and it started to squawk loudly, so loudly Gene said “I thought he was going to jump out if the box!” Who knows how true these sto­ries are but they cer­tainly bring a smile to my face.

At his bur­ial in Hanover, Mass­a­chu­setts at St. Collette’s School col­league Mike Ander­sen squeezed him­self right next to the gravesite and had a very mov­ing photo of the cas­ket being low­ered into the ground.

The Car­di­nals replace­ment was Arch­bishop Hum­berto Medeiros, who arrived from Brownsville Texas to Logan Air­port. He was escorted through the throngs of media by Boston police and lead cop was the same cop who led the Boston Bru­ins onto the ice at Boston Gar­den for every game back in that era. He was a big friendly guy but this day he had in his hands a large rec­tan­gu­lar object like a 16/20 print to keep us back. It worked as we only got just so close but with a great view for our photos.

Medeiros became Car­di­nal Medeiros dur­ing his time in Boston and on a Sat­ur­day in Sep­tem­ber of 1983 I cov­ered his death. On that Sat­ur­day, Jack Harper and I went to Saint Columbkille’s Church which was near Saint Elizabeth’s hos­pi­tal to cover the goings on.

We all cov­ered his funeral and I was sent to Fall River his home­town for the bur­ial. He was loved in Fall River and through it all his fam­ily was as gra­cious as he was.

Then came Arch­bishop Bernard Fran­cis Law who knew how to play to the media. He arrived shortly after St. Ambrose Church burned down on Adams Street in Dorch­ester, Jan­u­ary 1983. He went to the Church with a lot of fan­fare to help the peo­ple grieve over their loss promis­ing to help with the rebuild­ing of the struc­ture. He played soft­ball with other arch­dio­cese priests against Boston Police. It was called “The Law vs. The Police.”  It became an annual event at Town Field in Dorch­ester. The police usu­ally won.

In 1985 he became a Car­di­nal. When the Church sex scan­dal broke in Boston around 2002 he was at the cen­ter of it under great crit­i­cism of how he han­dled it or maybe how he did not han­dle it. I took video of him as he arrived at the court house for his depo­si­tion. He was none to happy to see us, and protested our pres­ence. He came up through garage ele­va­tors to avoid the media. Advan­tage us!

That was the last time I saw him in per­son and then his res­ig­na­tion from the Boston Arch­dio­cese in ‘02. I was told dur­ing his St. Ambrose Church visit years ear­lier he told my good friend and great pho­tog­ra­pher Stan Gross­feld of the Boston Globe he was going to win a Pulitzer and he was cor­rect as Stan has won two. I did not mind he said that as I already had won a couple.

The Rest of The Story:

My friend and for­mer col­league Mike Ander­sen updates me on his role with Card­ni­nal Cushing.

To clar­ify my role in Car­di­nal Cushing’s funeral: The Car­di­nal had arranged for a mau­soleum to be built on the grounds of St. Coletta’s in Hanover long before his death.  The day before the funeral, Chief Pho­tog­ra­pher Myer Ostroff sent me to Hanover just to see what I could see.  I found some work­men putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the sar­coph­a­gus in which his cas­ket would be entombed.  I made a pic­ture of them and we used it.  The next day the entire staff was assigned to the funeral.  Angela’s only job was to shoot Jackie Kennedy.  Mine was to get inside the mau­soleum and get a pic­ture of the VIPs who would be per­mit­ted inside for a pri­vate farewell.  There were two doors, one in front and one on the side near the back..  The back door was locked and there was a nun guard­ing the front.  I think she had played line­backer at Notre Dame.  Every time I made a move for the door, there she was.  I brought along prints of the sar­coph­a­gus masons and given them each a print.  One of them saw my plight and said he’d get me in.  So he unlocked the back door and I went in.  The only other per­son inside at that time was the Pilot pho­tog­ra­pher Phil Stack.  He kept wav­ing for me to get out.  I just waved back and tucked myself into a cor­ner in front where I hoped I wouldn’t be seen from the door.  For­tu­nately the out­side ser­vice ended about then and the VIPs, other Car­di­nals, the Kennedy fam­ily and prob­a­bly oth­ers I didn’t know came troop­ing in.  They filled this small build­ing.  I had a 20mm lens on a tri­pod and a long cable release so I could hold the cam­era way over my head and cover the entire room.  Some­body at the office was able to iden­tify most of the peo­ple and they ran two of my pic­tures full-page in the Record.  I was the only sec­u­lar pho­tog­ra­pher there, so we beat the Globe and Herald-Traveler six ways from Sun­day, excuse the pun.

I had had an ear­lier inci­dent with Car­di­nal Cush­ing.  I came to Boston in 1969, the year of the Apollo 11 moon land­ing.  Michael Collins, the third astro­naut no-one remem­bers, was from Boston, so Car­di­nal Cush­ing was going to con­duct a pri­vate Mass bless­ing Collins at Holy Cross Cathe­dral.  I was assigned to cover it.  I’m also not Catholic and had never even been in a Catholic Church before.  I had also never seen a pho­tog­ra­pher in my Pres­by­ter­ian Church.  I don’t know if the Pres­by­te­ri­ans are too dig­ni­fied to per­mit pho­tog­ra­phy or just so bor­ing (we’re known, with good rea­son, as the “Frozen Cho­sen”) that no-one wants to take our pic­ture.  But other pho­tog­ra­phers were there, all tak­ing pic­tures, so I started tak­ing pic­tures too.  I was so wrapped up in what I was doing that I didn’t notice when the oth­ers set their cam­eras down.  I was look­ing through the viewfinder with a tele­photo lens and a tight shot of the Car­di­nal when he glared at me and said, “Stop tak­ing pic­tures now!  This is the HOLY part.”

I was at Fen­way Park when the Eagle landed.  The PA announcer came on the air between innings to announce that Amer­i­cans were now safely on the sur­face of the moon.  There was a moment of stunned silence. then loud applause, then some­one began to sing.  The next thing you knew 30,000 peo­ple were singing, spon­ta­neously and a cap­pella, “God Bless Amer­ica”.  It was the most mov­ing moment I’ve ever witnessed.

More of The Rest Of The Story:

I received a com­ment which fills in a lot of infor­ma­tion on some of my infor­ma­tion or lack of it from Attor­ney James C. Reilly. Mr. Reilly grew up in New­ton, went to the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester and Duke Law. Mr. Reilly prac­tices law in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama. 

The three galleros hung from the rafters are for Car­di­nals O’Connell, Cush­ing and Medieros.  William Henry Car­di­nal O’Connell’s and Richard James Car­di­nal Cushing’s galleros were pre­sented to them by the Pope, Pius X and John XXIII respec­tively, as the “red hat” of a car­di­nal.  The gallero was dis­con­tin­ued by Pope Paul VI and the “red hat” now given is the red biretta. Accord­ingly, Hum­berto Sousa Car­di­nal Medieros never received a gallero from the Pope.  How­ever, Car­di­nal O’Malley had a gallero made for Car­di­nal Medieros so that the tra­di­tion of hang­ing it in the cathe­dral could con­tinue.  The red gallero with 30 tas­sels is the heraldic device of a car­di­nal.  A green gallero with 20 tas­sels is the sym­bol of an Arch­bishop and a green gallero with 12 tas­sels is the sym­bol for a bishop.  Other col­ors and tas­sel num­bers are also used as the heraldic device for priests (Black and 2), Mon­signors (vari­a­tions of black/amaranth, ama­ranth usu­ally 6) etc.

BTW the pic­ture of Car­di­nal Cush­ing does NOT show him “cel­e­brat­ing” Mass — most likely he is pre­sid­ing, i.e., in atten­dance in his offi­cial capac­ity, as he is in choir dress and not wear­ing the cha­suble of the priest say­ing Mass.

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  1. nice…remind me to tell you about the first time I filled-in as a handy-man at the Cathe­dral when I was across the street at the fire­house years ago.….

  2. The three galleros hung from the rafters are for Car­di­nals O’Connell, Cush­ing and Medieros. William Henry Car­di­nal O’Connell’s and Richard James Car­di­nal Cushing’s galleros were pre­sented to them by the Pope, Pius X and John XXIII respec­tively, as the “red hat” of a car­di­nal. The gallero was dis­con­tin­ued by Pope Paul VI and the “red hat” now given is the red biretta. Accord­ingly, Hum­berto Sousa Car­di­nal Medieros never received a gallero from the Pope. How­ever, Car­di­nal O’Malley had a gallero made for Car­di­nal Medieros so that the tra­di­tion of hang­ing it in the cathe­dral could con­tinue. The red gallero with 30 tas­sels is the heraldic device of a car­di­nal. A green gallero with 20 tas­sels is the sym­bol of an Arch­bishop and a green gallero with 12 tas­sels is the sym­bol for a bishop. Other col­ors and tas­sel num­bers are also used as the heraldic device for priests (Black and 2), Mon­signors (vari­a­tions of black/amaranth, ama­ranth usu­ally 6) etc.

    BTW the pic­ture of Car­di­nal Cush­ing does NOT show him “cel­e­brat­ing” Mass — most likely he is pre­sid­ing, i.e., in atten­dance in his offi­cial capac­ity, as he is in choir dress and not wear­ing the cha­suble of the priest say­ing Mass.


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