Boston's Unlikely Demosthenes

At Thursday's Interfaith Prayer Service held in Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral, I thought the clergy participants fair, but rather bland. By contrast, the three public officials who spoke, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, and President Obama, were superb, each in his own way.Patrick and Obama had wonderful content, cadence, and articulation. Menino, by contrast, sounded like Demosthenes -- or at least Demosthenes who had forgotten to take the practice pebbles out of his mouth. But he was the most effective, because affective of them all. His love for his City on a Hill was palpable.The Mayor had checked himself out of the hospital on Monday to go to the site of the bombings. He appeared at the news conference that night and on subsequent days. And, to deliver his brief remarks at the Cathedral, Menino insisted on rising (with evident effort and some pain) to stand at the ambo.Scott Simon praised him on NPR this morning:

You could see a big streak of Boston when Mayor Tom Menino stood up to speak at this week's prayer service. He had just signed himself out of the hospital where he was recovering after surgery. The mayor still had a hospital bracelet strapped around his wrist. He had hospital machines that kept him going, cloaked by a sheet on his lap and he was steered to the podium by his son, a Boston police officer, who had been at the finish line of the marathon.But the mayor of Boston insisted on getting out of his seat to stand at the podium and tell his city in a hoarse, husky voice that crackled like the wheels of one of Boston's T trains when he said, "We are one Boston."

You can see Simon's celebration of Boston here

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

Also by this author
The Real Ballet

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads