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. Ana Maria Rivas says:

    God’s peace to you your Eminence! Sending ferverent prayers and good wishes your way!

  2. Stephen Gerard Scullion says:

    May I take this opportunity of passing on my sincerest best wishes for your elevation to the Cardinalate, following the footsteps of so many who have done Gods will. I would also like to mention our own Cardinal, Cardianl Cormac Murphy ‘O’ Connor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and in my own Diocese, Bishop Seamus Cunninghamwho I am sure would echo my sentiments to you, to all New Yorkers, and to all our friends ‘Across the Pond’

  3. Fr. Mark McKercher says:

    Congratulations from the Archdiocese of Omaha, and one of your Kenrick seminarians!

  4. Pauline says:

    The members of the Milwaukee Archdiocese are smiling this morning as news circulates the city. We will continue to support you and keep you in our prayers. Congratulations and “Glory to God in the highest!”

  5. Sr Helen Ryan says:

    Congratulations from Srs Helen Ryan and Sister Winifred Adelsberger from Ballwin, Mo., your neighbors. Many blessings in your work.

  6. Patrician and Kevin McCutchan says:

    Congratulation Your Eminence!

    Our Prayers and best wishes for this wonderful news
    God’s blessings always,

    Patricia and Kevin McCutchan
    St. Brendan’s Parish Brooklyn, New York 11230

  7. Stephen Schmidt says:

    Congratulations from St. Louis! The Church rejoices today! Our prayers are with you.

  8. Mamabearjd says:

    My husband called me in when it was announced on the news this morning – and this Texas girl is just over the moon with excitement for you! You were in my prayers in Mass and at First Friday adoration this morning – it was your influence that inspired me to make First Fridays a priority and also to give up meat every Friday this year. We need your plain spoken guidance!

  9. Therese says:

    Congratulations. What a gift!

  10. I am very pleased to hear that you’ve been elevated to the Cardinal status. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll become the first American Pontiff.

  11. Doreen Wigderson says:

    Congratulations! I was just telling my husband the other day that I knew in my heart you would be a Cardinal some day. Those of us who enjoyed your sermons and community work here in Milwaukee send you lots of prayers and will be watching on February 18th. God Bless you!

  12. I’m sure I speak for a lot of Catholic bloggers when I say, I’m not surprised … just very, very grateful. Congratulations, Your Eminence, and thank you for all you do not just for the Big Apple but for the Church in America!

  13. Anna Worthington says:

    I am so happy for you! Congratulations on this blessing, so well deserved.

  14. Jacqueline M De Leon says:

    Your Eminence, the moment I saw that wonderful twinkle in your eye, I knew you are someone special. More proof is the invaluable help you have been to our church and community. Your presence will never be forgotten, well not by this lowly servant. I know that your new place o honor is well deserved but mostly; it’s an opportunity to aid and assist a lot more of us. Thank you God and you Father Dolan, it was truly a pleasure meeting you. My prayers and best wishes are for you r future endeavors.
    Jacqueline M. De Leon, Catechist
    The Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension, Upper West Side NYC

  15. Deacon Dan Waloski says:

    Congratulations to you from all of us at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Riverhead NY

  16. Denise Sienkiewicz says:

    Congratulations Your Eminence!

    I called mom first thing when I read this and she and dad were absolutely thrilled. They both send their love.

    We are very excited for you and for the Church and her people.

    God’s blessing to you and you remain in our daily prayers.

  17. Fr. Isidore Bard says:

    Congratulations from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula-! We love you your Eminence!
    -Fr. Isidore

  18. Barbara&Carolyn Volpicello says:

    Congratulation. We knew this day would come and that you and Cardinal-elect O’Brien would be so honored. We send our prayers to both of you.

  19. Deb Hohenbrink says:

    Congratulations! I have been to St. Patricks many times when I visit my daughter in NYC and enjoy listening to you on the Catholic Channel. What an honor, and well deserved.

  20. Joan says:

    Congratulations your Eminence. I thank God for your leadership and that you have been elevated to Cardinal. I am a little surprised that our former President, John Kennedy, is alluded to as a faithful Catholic. He promised reporters that he would not bring his faith with him into office, that his duties as President would not reflect his faith. I have always felt that this led people into a compartmentalized mentality that we can ill afford.

    All my love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

  21. Dawn Marie Ceja says:

    Congratulations Your Eminence!

    This is truly wonderful news, what a blessing for all of us! You and I will share in this special day of Feb. 18TH, which is also my birthday. What a wonderful birthday gift! I will keep you in my prayers, and ask that you please do the same for me!

    God’s blessings to you always,

    Dawn M Ceja
    EWTN Media Missionary Area Coordinator-Archdiocese of NY
    Corpus Christi Parish – Port Chester, NY

  22. Jennifer Tritle says:

    Congratulations and great blessings to you! As a mother of a seminarian at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, I can say that I have been following keenly your good service to the American Church, and I not at all surprised by your being honored in such an important way. God bless you!

  23. Liane and Dennis Dolezar says:

    Our prayers remain with you and our pride in your good work have followed you from Milwaukee. I can only think that Betty is dancing in heaven telling all, “I told ya so!” How wonderfully lucky the church is to have you as a new Cardinal.

  24. Liane and Dennis Dolezar says:

    Our prayers remain with you as they have since you left Milwaukee. I can picture Betty dancing in heaving and shouting, “I told you so!”. The Catholic church is blessed to have you as a new cardinal.

  25. Sue Palmer says:

    On behalf of all the Sisters here at Maryknoll (the Fathers, Brothers and Lay Missioners, too, I’ll warrant), our very best wishes to you and prayers for you as you join the Cardinalate. We are excited to know we will be able to tell you in person, when you celebrate our 100th Anniversary Mass here at the Maryknoll Sisters Center this Sunday. Looking forward to seeing you soon! Cordially, Ms. Sue Palmer, Communications Manager, Maryknoll Sisters.

  26. Ed Gamboa says:

    Congratulations and greetings from California! We are all happy for you. It’s not a surprise. Deo gratias.

  27. Carl Laski says:

    Dear Archbishop,

    Congratulations on your pending elevation to Cardinal. Although we live in NJ we find our selfs in NY on many a Sunday and come to St Patricks for mass. We have been fortunate enough to have you as a celibrant many times and each time is more inspiring then the previous. You are in our prayers

    Michelle and Carl Laski

  28. Father James from NJ says:

    Congratulations, Your Excellency!

  29. Barb says:

    Congratulations, Your Eminence, from up here in the Syracuse diocese….the home of soon-to-be-canonized Mother Marianne Cope!

    Wow, New York State has had some pretty awesome news lately-first, we’ll be getting new Saints who lived here, and second, our Metropolitan Archbishop is going to get the red hat of a Cardinal!

  30. Sr. Lou Ann Fantauzza says:

    Our joy, good thoughts and prayers accompany you, Archbishop Dolan, as you become a Cardinal of the Church and continue your great service to our Church!

    Sr. Lou Ann and the Sisters, Teachers, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Families of
    Corpus Christi Holy Rosary School (Port Chester, NY)

  31. Congratulations and prayers from St. Thomas More in Paradise, CA! The left coast is cheering!

  32. Gabriel Pulido says:

    The more is given, the more is asked. Congratulation!!! With admiration for all what you do for our church. BTW, I enjoyed your article written about vocations that The Catholic Answer published early this month. I truly believe that you will be a good prophet announcing Good News for the US and beyond. Praise God!
    Florida State present!

  33. Peter & Claire Brockmann says:

    Congratulations and God’s blessings be upon you as you are elevated to the role of Cardinal. You are in our daily prayers.

  34. James Garrity says:

    Your Excellency,

    Heartfelt congratulations and blessings to you! What a wonderful gift by the Holy Father to you, and to your flock here in New York.

    I’m so happy to hear that you will be Cardinal Dolan in the near future!

  35. Espe Villasenor says:

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer and so down to earth gentleman! I’ve had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Timothy Dolan twice and it was if I knew him all my life. He is so down to earth and has such a warm and God-loving personality!
    Our prayers go with you Cardinal Dolan!

  36. Charles Bassey says:

    Congratulations His Eminence. I remember the meeting my family had with you at St Bart’s in Yonkers in 2010 when we came in from Nigeria for the 100th year celebration of the parish. Your warmth, thoughtful and spirit-filled interaction remains with us. We pray for God’s guidance as you serve the Church as one of her modern day delightful princes. Greetings of love from Nigeria.

  37. Sem. Genesius Budebo Desire says:

    Congratulations your Excellency! Time now for higher service to the entire church. God’s blessings upon you!

  38. Pat Claus says:

    Congratulations from Maine, your Eminence! So happy for you. Keep up the wonderful work you do in Gotham. Perhaps, perhaps, someday we will have an American Pope and I cannot imagine anyone more appropriate than yourself.

  39. Bruce Johnson says:

    Congratulations, Your Eminence, and thank you for all you do not just for the Big Apple but for the Church in America!

    One of many who love you in Colorado.

  40. Chris Porrell says:

    Congratulations and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide you.

  41. Tony Haughey says:

    Congratulations from Columbia, SC. I think we all knew at Kenrick that you were destined for the red hat. I know I am blessed by having you as one of my mentors, and so is the Archdiocese of New York and the Universal Church.

  42. Shon M. Pirollo says:

    Congratulations Your Eminence! This is such joyous news. We are all so blessed to now have you as a Cardinal! My prayers will be with you as you continue to lead and guide us. May God Bless you!

  43. Mary Jane Maglio says:

    Congratulations, Archbishop Dolan! What a great birthday present I’m getting! To have you named Cardinal on MY birthday is exceedingly wonderful! May Our Lord continue to give blessings over-flowing! God bless you!

  44. Congratulations, Your Eminence.

    As to what the appointment is all about, I beg to offer a slightly different view. In the first sense, it is about Timothy Dolan, a fine priest and bishop who’s done a terrific job in speaking out positively for the Church. You’ve recognized the call to evangelize God’s people and you’re doing that, with a fine sense of humour along the way. And you’ve presented a fine sense of apologetics — speaking out for the message of Christ and the Church he’s entrusted to us. More need to do it — and hopefully, try to do it as well as you do.

    Finally, it is about the See of New York and all the fine people, Catholoc and otherwise, that make up the archdiocese. As to a red hat on home plate at Yankee Stadium — here’s a thought (Yankees, are you listerning?). Why not turn home plate red for the opening home game in April…? And maybe red pin stripes on the uniforms…?

    At any rate, Your Eminence, you’re a home run. Congratulations again — and best wishes.

  45. Andrea Lawson says:

    So grateful for this wonderful news for our Church! Prayers from St. Louis are with you!

  46. Kathleen says:

    Congratulations to you from Texas! What a wonderful blessing. I have so enjoyed hearing you on The Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM Radio. It’s nice to listen to someone who clearly enjoys what he does! May God Bless you as you continue to serve His people and His church. We will keep you in our prayers.

  47. Fran Cardella says:

    Congratulations as you ready to serve at the higher level of Cardinal. May God continue to bless your ministry always and in all ways.

  48. Maryann Bunt says:

    Congratulations Cardinal Dolan, you know that our family up in Heaven is very proud of you.

  49. Elizabeth Warynick says:

    Congratulations Archbishop Dolan!!! I KNEW this would happen before too long! THANK YOU FOR STANDING UP FOR THE FAITH! We need all of our Priests, Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals to be as Faithful as you are in standing up to the secularization going on in the world! You will continue to be in my prayers daily!
    We love you and are so proud of you! THANK YOU POPE Benedict!s

  50. Thank you for being our Apostolic Minister for the Diocese of Green Bay from September, 2007 to July, 2008. Congratulations on you being selected as cardinal elect. It is well deserved. For Christmas my gift was a look at your life through the eyes of your brother. I am reading: “Life Lessons from my Life with my Brother, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan” by Bob Dolan. Although our paths never crossed exactly, I feel that we could sit down and have a beer or some other Irish beverage and talk theology or football. Thank you for being so real. God bless you. Deacon Tom Mahoney, Green Bay, Wisconsin