New York’s Cardinal Dolan embraces a new role: pastor in Rome
As a reminder that the early popes were elected by the pastors of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI — like his predecessors — assigns each new cardinal to serve as honorary pastor of one of the city’s churches.
On Oct. 14, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who became a cardinal in February, took formal possession of his titular church in characteristically ebullient style, literally embracing as many of his new flock as he could, and punctuating the observances with his trademark humor.
“Thank you for your patience with my Italian,” the cardinal told a standing-room-only crowd of about 300 in the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “I’m afraid that I speak Italian like a child. But before God we are all children, and God understands everyone.”
The parishioners responded in the same spirit, with frequent laughter and applause.
“We saw a joy, a gladness, and a beautiful way of relating that strikes us as Franciscan, not only Christian,” said Franciscan Sister Amalia Coluccia, mother general of one of the 10 religious communities affiliated with the parish. “He is very close to the people, very joyous. He made a beautiful impression.”
Cardinal Dolan arrived on time for the 11:30 a.m. Mass, but spent a quarter of an hour greeting people in the square in front of the church, then walking informally up the aisle, with frequent stops to put an arm around someone’s shoulder, before he entered the sacristy to put on his vestments.
He then made a second entrance, to the accompaniment of the parish choir and a brass quartet, in a procession with more than a dozen concelebrants, including Archbishops Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., and Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, and Bishop Brian Dunn of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Italian military police officers, in dress uniform with plumed two-cornered hats, stood at attention on either side of the altar during the Mass. [More]