News & Press

Archdiocese & Boston College File Petition To Relocate The Remains Of The Late Cardinal O’Connell To St. Sebastian’s In Needham

Braintree, MA – In order to honor the life and memory of the late William H. Cardinal O’Connell, D.D., the 5th Bishop and 2nd Archbishop of Boston, the Archdiocese and Boston College announced today that they are seeking to relocate his remains to a permanent resting place established at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, MA. On September 17, 2009 the Archdiocese and Boston College filed a petition with the Probate and Family Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to seek the court’s approval for the proper relocation of Cardinal O’Connell’s remains.

This action is required by state law and follows more than two years of discussions with members of the late Cardinal’s extended family. Cardinal O’Connell died on April 22, 1944 at the age of 84 and was buried in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin on the grounds of St. John's Seminary in Brighton, MA. This property was sold to Boston College in 2004.

Cardinal O’Connell founded St. Sebastian’s in 1941 with a mission to provide the highest quality Catholic education for young men. In addition, the Archdiocese will construct a permanent memorial at St. John’s Seminary acknowledging the Cardinal’s life, his affiliation with Boston College, and his final resting place. Also, a need-based college scholarship in the name of Cardinal O’Connell will be established at St. Sebastian’s School.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said, “Establishing Cardinal O’Connell’s permanent resting place at St. Sebastian’s will provide current and future generations the opportunity to gain an appreciation of Cardinal O’Connell’s significant contributions to the life of the Catholic Church. Through this memorial, we will be able to ensure that the Cardinal’s many achievements as Archbishop of Boston will always be remembered and honored.”

In 2004 and 2007 the Archdiocese of Boston announced that it had reached agreement with Boston College for the purchase and sale of property from the Archdiocese’s Brighton campus. A condition of the sale of the additional property to Boston College was the dignified relocation of Cardinal O’Connell’s remains. The Archdiocese and Boston College are jointly seeking the Court's approval to relocate the Cardinal's remains to the St. Sebastian’s location.

Chancellor Jim McDonough said, “By way of extensive consultation and collaboration with all parties we have worked diligently to resolve the issue of relocating the remains of Cardinal O’Connell. It is our desire to be respectful to the late Cardinal and his heirs, faithful to our Catholic ministry, and mindful of our obligation with Boston College, and to do so in a manner that commemorates Cardinal O’Connell’s life and achievements.”

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 292 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 46,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach and in support of a health care ministry that meets the needs of some 1 million patients each year. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit   www.BostonCatholic.org .