Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End on Palm Sunday – his first appearance since returning home from the papal conclave – and urged infrequent church-goers to attend more regularly.
“Some of our ‘ashes and palms’ Catholics might be here today,” O’Malley said during the Mass.
“I want to ask you to join our frequent flyer program,” he added. “Each Sunday, the rewards are out of this world.”
O’Malley, who had been in Rome for 20 days, said he was glad to be back in Boston.
“Boston is a great place to be, and Holy Week is a wonderful time to be a Catholic here,” the cardinal said.
O’Malley, who was considered a long-shot contender by some pundits to succeed Pope Benedict, says the newly-elected Francis will invigorate the Catholic Church, particularly with regard to its duties to minister to the poor.
“I’m excited about his passion for the social gospel of the church,” O’Malley said after the Mass, according to the Boston Herald.
“It will hopefully galvanize us to continue in the many, many ministries that we have to serve the poor and the suffering, and involve more and more of our people in those direct services and those activities, which are such important parts of being Catholic.”
O’Malley also urged his flock to follow their faith during their time on Earth.
“We are pilgrims, and life and the time we are here is precious and we must use it well,” he said.