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Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley slated to offer commencement address at Regis College

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is expected to give the commencement address at Regis College’s graduation ceremony in May and receive an honorary degree, the school announced Thursday.

President Antoinette M. Hays said in a statement that the cardinal accepted the school’s invitation in December to speak and “is very happy to have received the invitation and is very much looking forward to the occasion.”

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O’Malley is currently at the Vatican, where he and more than 100 other cardinals are preparing for the conclave that will select a new pope.

“After Pope Benedict XVI resigned, we held back our commencement announcement even on campus out of respect for [O’Malley] and the unfolding process, including Cardinal Sean’s participation in the conclave to select a new pope,” Hays said in a statement. “But with regional universities announcing their commencement speakers today, we thought we had better announce before we have to arrange to bring the cardinal in by Skype.”

Among Vatican watchers, there has been chatter about the possibility of the Boston cardinal being named pope.

Regis expects to graduate 500 students with associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. There are about 2,000 students enrolled at the liberal arts college in Weston.

O’Malley has spoken there before, including at the October 2011 inauguration of Hays.

“Regis congratulates Cardinal Sean for persevering in rebuilding trust within our Boston church, preparing this great ecclesial community for the challenges of the 21st century . . . ” Hays said in the statement. “We consider him a friend, and . . . have supported him in the past decade in various ways on his journey to repair and console a church wounded by clerical sexual abuse.”

Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com.
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