It was like a scene from â€œThis Is Your Lifeâ€ as Archbishop Timothy Dolan looked into the pews at a cavernous Rome cathedral where he said Mass for family and friends on Wednesday.
In the front row sat his 84-year-old mother, Shirley, holding back tears of pride, and his grade-school teacher Sister Mary Bosco.
Behind them were hundreds of pilgrims â€” from Ballwin, Mo., to the Big Apple â€” who are here to witness him being made cardinal this weekend.
When the service at the Basilica of St. John Lateran was over, they mobbed Dolan. And he remembered scores by name, asking about a parentâ€™s surgery or a childâ€™s birth.
Squeaky Marquart, an octogenarian in a wheelchair whoâ€™s known Dolan since his days “in Missoura,” teared up as the archbishop laid hands on him in a healing gesture.
â€œHe’s been so good to us,” Marquart told The Daily News. “He’s such a wonderful man.”
One woman burst into tears as Dolan gave her a big bear hug.
“We’ve known each other since we were six years old!” said another, prompting Dolan to warn, “Hey, what happened in Ballwin stays in Ballwin!”
Two-year-old Michael Downey giggled as Dolan hugged him.
“They’re big buddies. The archbishop carries him around St. Pat’s when I have to do the reading,” said his mother, Vicki, who works at the cathedral in Manhattan.
Sister Rosario Delaney, principal of the school Dolan attended and a friend for decades, marveled that the man she knew as a young priest was being made a prince of the church.
â€œIt’s all happened so fast,â€ she said. [More]