What a show

Not even a personality as large as Timothy Dolan’s could really stand out today at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Not when you have 11 American cardinals there. Plus more than 100 archbishops and bishops. And, oh yeah, something like 700 or 800 priests.

Not when Holy Communion is distributed to some 2,500 people in less than 15 minutes.

This was about the liturgy more than it was about the New Guy. Liturgy and tradition and the meaning of it all.

I think Dolan would agree. He said so in his homily:

“Let’s get one thing clear: This is not all about Timothy Dolan, or all about cardinals and bishops, or about priests and sisters, or even about family and cherished friends. Nope. This is all about two people: Him and her. This is all about Jesus and his bride, the church. For, as de Lubac asked, ‘What would I ever know of him without her?’ ”

Dolan was around, of course. Right out there. Before things got started, he stood on Fifth Avenue and greeted priests as they marched by and into the cathedral. After the Mass, he was back outside, waving and clasping his hands together and shaking them like you do when you have something to be proud of.

His press conference this morning was quite interesting. But I’ll get to that later, after I write my article for tomorrow’s paper.

As the church turns: Egan, Dolan say their farewells

Archbishop Dolan celebrated Easter Mass in Milwaukee yesterday and said farewell to the archdiocese:

“I will miss you all very much. I love you very much. I will never forget you. And I will remain ever grateful to you.”

According to a Milwaukee TV station, Dolan spent some time at the end of the Mass “doing what he does best: talking, connecting with people, and of course making them all laugh.”

There’s a slideshow here.

Dolan comes to New York today — and he’ll be all over the news the next few days.

Solemn Vespers tomorrow evening. Mass of Installation Wednesday. You know he’s going to say some memorable stuff.

I’ll be at St. Patrick’s for both events.

I have an article in today’s Journal News/LoHud about the Great Expectations facing the new Archbishop of New York.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Egan covered a lot of ground during Easter Mass at St. Patrick’s. Here’s the AP story (and make sure you catch the last line):

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Cardinal Edward Egan, who will retire as head of New York City’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese on Wednesday, told worshippers at his last Easter Mass that mortal life is fleeting and “we are here for a moment in eternity.”

Egan, who was hospitalized for several days with a stomach ailment and missed Palm Sunday services, appeared robust though at times he leaned heavily on his staff.

A standing-room-only crowed of about 2,700 attended Sunday’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

Afterward, the 77-year-old Egan said he felt fine.

“I don’t know what in the world happened to me last Saturday,” he said. “I got this virus or something or other in my stomach and things weren’t operating.”

Egan was released from St. Vincent’s Hospital on Tuesday. While he was there, doctors said he would need to have a pacemaker implanted.

“I’ve got plenty of time to do that,” Egan said Sunday. “The heart is still ticking.”

Egan is leaving after nine years leading the New York Archdiocese’s 2.5 million Catholics in New York City and its northern suburbs. Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be installed as his successor on Wednesday.

Egan plans a busy retirement ministering to French-speaking Catholics at the new Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary mission on Manhattan’s East Side.

“I am going to see if we can create a community that supports in a very special way what we call the Francophone community,” he said.

During his homily, Egan spoke of a visit to China 35 years ago when a group of young people living under Mao’s rule asked, “Tell us about God.”

Egan said he told them about the resurrection of Christ, and when a young man asked if he believed it, he responded that “witnesses to the death and resurrection were not such as would invent such a story.”

He said that Americans are fortunate to live in a country where religion can be practiced freely, though “the media are rather unfriendly.”

He said the Easter message is more relevant than ever in the current gloomy economic time.

“In my 77 years I have never known a time when the proclaiming was as needed as it is now,” he said.

Egan often has seemed a distant and aloof figure and has not cultivated a warm relationship with New York’s media.

Asked about successor, he told reporters, “You’re going to like him very much. He’s going to talk to you much more than I do.”

Egan: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

‘It’s Tim on line 1’

If you place a call or send an email to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, you have a real good chance of getting your call returned.

You might even hear, “Hey, it’s Tim.”

Stories are flying about New York’s new archbishop reaching out to anyone and everyone, including people who have been calling or writing simply to wish him well.

He’s even called people to decline invitations to various events. Heck, I’ve never been able to get parents to RSVP for my kids’ birthday parties.

This is a very social being who were are meeting here.

Plans are taking shape for Dolan to host a series of barbeques at St. Joseph’s Seminary — two for diocesan priests, one for priests, nuns and brothers from religious orders, and one for permanent deacons and their spouses.

This much is clear: The man is going to talk.

But what is he going to say?

We’ll get a preview, I guess, at his press conference on the morning of the Mass of Installation on April 15.

Details on the Big Installation

Just back from a press briefing in NYC on the upcoming installation of Archbishop Dolan on April 14 and 15.

Some tidbits:

  • Near the start of the Solemn Vespers prayer service at 7 p.m. on the 14th, Archbishop Dolan will literally knock on the great doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Various cardinals and archbishops and Bishop Dennis Sullivan, vicar general of the archdiocese, will be waiting just inside the doors. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal ambassador to the U.S., will present Dolan to Cardinal Egan, who will then  “welcome” his successor on behalf of the people of New York.
  • Officials are trying to figure out how to make the knock audible to the almost 2,500 people inside.
  • Dolan’s second-grade teacher, Sister Mary Bosco Daly, will be coming in from Ireland to give a short reading at the prayer service. She is 90.
  • Most dignitaries — religious and civil — are expected for the Mass of Installation on the 15th, not for Vespers the evening before.
  • Intercession prayers will be made in several languages, including Akan, Korean, Portuguese, German and Mandarin.
  • For each event, each parish in the archdiocese will be given two tickets for laypeople.
  • Sambi, the apostolic nuncio, will play a big role throughout.
  • There will be great ecumenical and interreligious participation — but no Jews. Passover will not conclude until April 15. But…on Monday the 20th, Dolan will take part in a Holocaust memorial service at Central Synagogue in NYC.
  • But you can expect Episcopalians, Lutherans, and plenty of Orthodox bishops, not to mention Muslims, Buddhists and others.
  • The opening process for the Mass on the 15 promises to be LONG and colorful.
  • Dolan is expected to use two historical croziers (the bishop’s staff), one that belonged to Archbishop Michael Corrigan (the boss from 1885 to 1902) and one that belonged to Cardinal Patrick Hayes (the boss from 1919 to 1938). Officials are looking for a pectoral cross with historical meaning.
  • The Mass, since it will be during the Easter season, will be the same Mass celebrated around the world that day. No tinkering.
  • Dolan will wear white vestments for the season.
  • At the Mass, the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan will sing Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus (and he’ll knock them out of the park, so to speak).
  • Dolan’s mother, siblings, nieces and nephews, and buddies will be in the front rows, and there will be plenty of Milwaukeeans around.
  • Among invitees to the Mass: mayors across the archdiocese; the governor, both U.S. senators, congresspeople, and others.
  • On the day he was named, Dolan said that he invited the president during a phone call of congratulations. But it does not appear that Obama is coming.
  • Dolan will become archbishop at the Mass when the chancellor of the archdiocese — former Rockland Vicar Monsignor William Belford — notarizes a letter from the pope.
  • Dolan will celebrate Mass at the cathdral on Sunday, April 19, the first Sunday after he takes over the show.
  • Joe Zwilling, longtime spokesman for the archdiocese, said that Dolan will “hit the ground running” with a packed schedule for his first few weeks in NY. We’ll know soon what he’ll be doing.
  • Cardinal Egan, Zwilling said, wants to stay in the background throughout.
  • Dolan will hold a press conference on the morning of the 15th. Yeah, he likes to talk.
  • Dolan will be in Rome on June 29 to get his new pallium, a wool vestment given to metropolitan archbishops, who oversee neighboring dioceses in a region.
  • That’s enough for now….

Dolan: Notre Dame loses with Obama

So, Archbishop Dolan is making news before he gets to the Big City.

He told a Milwaukee TV station in a farewell interview that Notre Dame made a “big mistake” by inviting President Obama to give its commencement address: “They did, and I say that as one who loves and respects Notre Dame. They made a big mistake.”

You can watch the video here.

Dolan also said:


There’s a lot of things that President Obama does that we can find ourselves allied with and working with him on, and we have profound respect for him and pray with him and for him. But in an issue that is very close to the heart of Catholic world view, namely, the protection of innocent life in the womb, he has unfortunately taken a position very much at odds with the Church.


A taste of what’s to come from the Archbishop of New York?

Only two weeks from tomorrow, many eyes will be on St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the welcoming prayer service for the new boss. The next day, the Mass of Installation.

The Archdiocese is holding a press briefing tomorrow morning on what’s to come.

Also, EWTN — the Catholic TV network — will air everything: Solemn Vespers at 6:30 p.m. on April 14 and the Mass at 1:30 p.m. on April 15. I think that every TV system around carries EWTN, so this is big news for those who can’t make to the cathedral but want to see it all.