Seminarians Ready to Help Archdiocese Begin Healing

By Eric Convey
The Boston Herald
January 25, 2003

Matthew Williams and Brian Flynn were eager to become priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, but that was before the clergy molestation scandal rocked the church beginning a year ago.

Now they're champing at the bit.

``The Lord has called me at this time,'' said Flynn, a college economics major who worked at an automobile dealership before a new parish priest inspired him so much that he eventually entered St John's Seminary in Brighton. That was six years ago.

``It has been a difficult year for all of us at the seminary,'' he said. ``Hopefully I can be part of the healing.''

``We are here to witness what the true meaning of the priesthood is,'' said Williams, 28, who completed an accounting degree before starting seminary.

``I was very saddened by the events of the last year - the church whom we love so much, to see all this going on,'' he said.

But amid the troubles his sense of calling ``has not been shaken, but strengthened,'' he said.

Both said they're heartened by the support shown by parishioners they've worked with this year.

The two are among 11 men to be ordained today as transitional deacons, the final step before becoming priests in May. Theirs will be the first class to be ordained following the resignation of Bernard Cardinal Law.

The ceremony, a day heavy with ritual and significance for the archdiocese even during less turbulent times, will be presided over by Bishop Richard G. Lennon, the apostolic administrator running the archdiocese until a replacement for Law is named.

``(It) is a day in which we celebrate God's abiding love for his church in the much-needed and wonderful service to which these men have dedicated their lives for the salvation of souls,'' Lennon said in a prepared statement.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese and professor at the seminary, said to a certain extent ``all of the students at the seminary have been shaped by (the scandal).''

It was not only the terrible abuse that stunned students, he said, but ``the inadequate ways we as a church responded.''

Until this week, church officials had been reluctant to make seminarians available for interviews, citing a desire to shield them from media intrusion and distraction.

Transitional deacons don't celebrate Mass but can baptize, visit the sick and celebrate some marriages. Also to be ordained as deacons today are James Achadinha of Medford, Patrick Armano of Methuen, Richard Burton of Haverhill, Kenneth Broussard of Louisiana, Flynn of Whitman, Robert Leong, Daniel McCoy of Groveland, Martin McNulty of Medfield, Nicholas Sannella of North Andover, Brian Smith of Weymouth and Williams of Braintree.

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