Just back from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where Archbishop Dolan celebrated Mass for about 150 female inmates.
He told them that he had wanted to visit a prison during his first week or so in New York.
Jesus won’t judge him, he said, based on his visits to Yankee Stadium or even to St. Patrick’s Cathedral: “He is going to say, ‘When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was in prison, you came to see me.’ ”
He told the women that they should never feel alone, as if they have been forsaken. Jesus received “capital punishment,” he said, and knows exactly what they’re going through.
After Mass, Dolan stood outside the chapel and greeted each woman individually. He embraced most and said at least a few words.He happily chatted with those who had a comment or question.
He asked many women to pray for him. Several of the inmates asked to be blessed by the new archbishop and one remarked “You are so cute.”
Afterward, Dolan took a couple of questions and told me that visiting inmates and others in need is his sacred responsibility.
“They do more for me than I do for them,” he said.
The media were not allowed to go on these two stops.
Security, as you would expect, is tight at Bedford Hills. The media had to go through several checkpoints before we made it to the chapel.
Through a couple of windows in doors, I did see the archbishop go through security himself.
Dolan promised the inmates that he would return, especially around holiday times.