Observations from evening prayers at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers:
1. Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Cardinal Egan, upon pulling up in front of the seminary, were greeted by Bishop Gerald Walsh — the rector (center) — and Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone.
Also on hand was the Rev. Luke Sweeney (left), an Irvington native and vocations director for the Archdiocese of New York. Sweeney was a seminarian at the North American College in Rome when Dolan was rector there.
3. When Dolan entered the main lobby and received a long ovation from seminarians, faculty and guests, he looked like he had just walked into a surprise party — grinning ear to ear. I mean, this was after a full day of meetings and congratulatory phone calls.
4. Speaking of which, Dolan said that he got a phone call from President Obama just before leaving NYC for Yonkers. “I said ‘Thank you, Mr. President. I need those prayers.’ He said, ‘I need your prayers, too.’ ” He also got calls from Mike Bloomberg, Gov. Paterson and others.
5. This was Dolan’s first visit to Dunwoodie. During the vespers service, he talked about the seminary’s worldwide reputation.
6. Dolan said he’s never spent more than a couple of days in New York.
7. During vespers, Egan expanded on his role in Dolan’s rise. Egan explained that when he was chairman of the North American College, he sought out the best possible rector. He heard about Dolan and went to St. Louis to recruit him.
8. In the lobby, Egan and Dolan talked about the pressing need for more seminarians. Egan suggested that each current seminarian recruit four more. Dolan responded: “If you get more than four, I’ll ordain you early.” More applause…
9. Dolan said he will be spending most of the next month in Milwaukee, where he is still in charge. Ash Wednesday is, after all, Wednesday, and there is much for an archbishop to do.
10. The choir loft at the seminary was filled with more than two dozen reporters and cameramen. Several reporters were doing live reports for their 5 p.m. broadcasts while the service was going on. Not too much interruption, though.
11. Addressing the seminarians, Dolan said that after a long, packed day of excitement, the one thing that stood out from the rest was…Mass. “That is the most important thing that I ever do,” he said.
12. Tomorrow, Dolan may take part in a Milwaukee tradition for “Fat Tuesday:” eating jelly rolls made of fat and grease. He hopes his doctor won’t object.
13. Although it’s been announced that he will be installed on April 15, Dolan will actually take “canonical possession” of the archdiocese at a special service at St. Patrick’s on April 14. On the 15th, he will be installed and celebrate Mass.
14. One more: Dolan was off to the cafeteria for dinner with the seminarians. Penne vodka and chicken marsala.
And there you go.