A Gift from Pope Benedict XVI

On this “Twelfth Day of Christmas” the traditional celebration of the Epiphany, I have received a gift from Pope Benedict XVI, as he announced just a couple of hours ago at the end of Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica that I would be among those to become a cardinal in Rome at the consistory of February 18th.

Yes, I am honored, humbled, and grateful, …but, let’s be frank: this is not about Timothy Dolan; this is an honor from the Holy Father to the Archdiocese of New York, and to all our cherished friends and neighbors who call this great community home.

It’s as if Pope Benedict is putting the red hat on top of the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty, or on home plate at Yankee Stadium; or on the spires of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral or any of our other parish churches; this is the successor of Saint Peter saying to the clergy, sisters, brothers, lay faithful of this archdiocese, and to all of our friends and neighbors of New York: Thank you! Keep up the good work! You are a leader, an inspiration, to the Church and to the world.

Over the Christmas holy days I finished a biography of President Kennedy, and recalled his reply to someone who sincerely congratulated him on the honor of the presidency.

“Thanks,” John Kennedy replied, “but I don’t look at it so much as an honor as a call to higher service.”

My sentiments exactly. This is not about privilege, change of colors, hats, new clothes, places of honor, or a different title.  Jesus warned us about all that stuff.

No: this is about an affirmation of love from the Pope to a celebrated archdiocese and community, and a summons to its unworthy archbishop to serve Jesus, His Church universal, His vicar on earth, and His people better.

I’ll try to do that…but I sure need your prayers.

Adding to our sense of joy, is the news that another native New Yorker,  my brother bishop and good friend, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, until recently Archbishop of Baltimore and now the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher,  has also been elevated to the cardinalate.  The Cardinal-designate was ordained a priest for this Archdiocese in 1965, and he is still warmly remembered for his service here as a priest, secretary to Cardinals Cooke and O’Connor, Rector of Saint Joseph’s Seminary, and auxiliary bishop.

Thanks so much for your good wishes.

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153 Responses to “A Gift from Pope Benedict XVI”

  1. Judy Gruner says:

    Your Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan;

    Congratulations from St. Louis, MO. My husband is a distant relative of yours and we rejoice in your recent elevation to Cardinal and pray that God will continue to bless you and your work here on earth. What a wonderful honor and one you so rightly deserve. May you continue to spread God’s message of love to a nation and world that so desperately needs it. Peace be with you.

  2. Fr Warner D'Souza says:

    Your Eminence,
    I write to congratulate you on your elevation as Cardinal. Ever since you took over as Archbishop of New York, I became a ‘fan’ of your happy and Christ like attitude. Your warm smile, I am sure, has won you many many hearts. I particularly admire your courage to stand for the truth and your firm defence of the gospel of life and truth.

    I have travelled twice to New York from Mumabi, India, where I live; in the last two years. Each time hoping to spend a few minutes with you to thank you for your leadership; that of course never happened. I have even spoken to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, our Archbishop of how much I esteem you.

    God Bless you your Eminence. You will be in my prayers always

    Fr Warner D’Souza

  3. thomas a yeager says:

    Your eminence you are so often in my thoughts and prayers what a great honor my father often remarked that some day you would be high up in the catholic church wow was he thinking thisappointment i guess born a cardinal and then be truly made a cardinal of the lord almighty not very many many red bird fans can say that i hope your mother is doing well take care and most of allpray for me and my family god bless.