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O'CONNOR SAYS FIRST MASS THIS MONTH

Cardinal John O'Connor celebrated Sunday Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral for the first time this month but delivered his homily sitting down.

"I'm going to share a secret with you," saidO'Connor, who had a brain tumor removed in August and is recovering from the effects of radiation therapy. "My very close friends and advisers have urged that I not celebrate this Mass today, because they say that my speech gets thick and I lose my place. But my answer to that is I cannot not have Mass with you. I love you too much."

The cardinal spoke slowly but clearly. At one point during the homily he referred to someone dying unexpectedly.

"Unexpectedly," he mused. "Now see, there's one of those words they tell me I can't get out. So they say I shouldn't have this Mass for that reason. Un-ex-pect-ed-ly. That's pretty good, isn't it?"

O'Connor was absent from St. Patrick's the last two weeks and stumbled the two weeks before that. He has been experiencing weakness in his legs, which is an aftereffect of his therapy and treatment of a blood clot in his leg.

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