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. Congratulations!! You certainly deserve this and we are all blessed to have you. Many blessings to you and you will be in my prayers! This is great news for the Catholic Church!

    May God Bless You and Mary Keep You!!

  2. Michelle Mayer says:

    Was sooooo excited to hear about Archbishop Dolan’s “promotion” . I follow you via the Catholic Channel on satellite radio. You are a great inspiration and I am always quoting you to my husband so even he knows who you are. You are sooooo deserving of this. Please don’t forget about us, the faithful, when you enter the College of Cardinals.
    May God bless you as you have blessed us!!!!!

  3. Jon says:

    Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Has a VERY nice ring to it!

  4. Elaine Payne says:

    So proud and excited! Was so glad to hear you on the Mass this morning announcing it on The Catholic Channel! I read your brother’s book and love how you’re a regular Catholic boy, loved the part about you trick or treating! You’re in our prayers, we love you!

  5. Mark A. Ricken says:

    Congratulations to you and the church in New York!! May the Good Lord watch over you every minute of everyday as you assist Him in His work here on earth

  6. David Savidge says:

    You Excellency –

    Many warm wishes to you on this honor. I was thinking just the other day “when is our Holy Father going to get around to dear Archbishop Dolan?” It seems the Lord has blessed me with a bit of the ole ESP! Many warm wishes to you and the great Archdiocese of New York on this wonderful gift. And your right – now you need our prayers more than ever. I’ll be sending them from our parish out here in Rocky Mountains from Boulder, Colorado. We like to think we get a bit of boost with our prayers here since we’re so far above sea level!

    Again, Cheers, Warm Wishes, Prayers and Huzzah!

  7. Jon Haines says:

    Congratulations! I wrote a humble article in honor of this. Please continue to love Christ more than us because we need a leader like that!


  8. Lester Zapata says:

    Congratulation, I am reading your book about the priestly life and had help me a lot. I am a seminarian from Tijuana Mexico I am with the OMI pray for my perseverance.

  9. Cheryl Craig from Texas says:

    Yes!! Congratulations!!! You are so deserving
    and Howard & I knew it was only a matter of
    We miss you!

  10. Steven says:

    May God continue to bless you and New York! It is a proud day for Catholics in Southeastern Wisconsin! Keep up the good work.

  11. Mary Smith says:

    From all of us who have followed and so often heard you speak, this was truly meant to be… We knew!!! The Spirit is with you, a gift you already had… We have been blessed by you sharing your gift with us….
    May our dear Lord continue to bless you!!!! Happy New Year for us all!!!

  12. Denita says:

    Congratulations from Fort Worth, TX

  13. Joe says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan
    I want to send you sincerest congratulations from Wicklow, Ireland.
    I have been deeply iompressed by your strong faith and your words on EWTN
    I wish you God’s blessing and the wisdom of the Holy spirit inm your new role.

    God bless you


  14. Tina says:

    Congratulations! I saw you on the TODAY show this morning receiving your “Cardinals” pennant. My prayers and, I’m sure, the prayers of all the parishioners of St. Mary’s of Dorrance, PA will be with you.

  15. Bonnie Campbell says:

    Time is one of those ‘things’ that we just really can’t explain – especially when it comes to God’s time. And, with time, coming aging and experience which are blessings.
    When it comes to time and aging, I remember meeting you back in high school days – just a quick meeting – but, there was something there. When I heard you had become a priest, that ‘something’ made sense. When you came back to STL from Rome and came to the Life Teen mass at Incarnate Word, from your sermon and interaction with the teens and even the rest of us, I felt BIG blessings were to follow. And, here they are.
    Thank you for listening to God’s calling and living it. Congratulations and continued prayers for your knew role.

  16. carlos says:

    Big Congrats your Eminence! from Bakersfield california with lots of Love. I have to say Eminence that i saw this one coming from a mile away. since last year when i started to listen to you on the cath channel. i felt that there was something especial about you. your humility, your laughter, your overall personality. its just so great to be able to hear you on the radio; Too bad that i wont probably ever get a chance to shake your hand personally but i cannt wait to see where the H.S. will move you next. i hope we can continue to listen to you on the conversation with the archbishop which will probably have to be rename to conversation with the Cardinal! Keep up the Great work. keep getting us inspired by your homilies and explanations and your Good Works. God Bless you.

  17. Whoo hoo! Congratulations! Thank you!

  18. John Wilson says:

    Congratulations Your Eminence!
    The joyful Christmas season comes to a close with the Epiphany and the gift of the Holy Father to you. As a Missourian and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians I rejoice in the Holy Fathers selection.
    Bless Dia duit agus tú buíochas a ghabháil do gach duine a dhéanann tú

  19. Tony Adams says:

    Congratulations Tim! Red hat or no, you’ve always been a prince in my book. Despite our serious differences of opinion, I’ve always trusted the opinion of our mutual friend Msgr. Ed Petty and I am very sad that he is no longer here with us to rejoice in this news. I know you will say “God forbid” to this next wish, but I sincerely hope that in some future conclave, you will emerge with no earthly authority above you. God only, disclosed to you in your very good heart, and then, you will rectify all the nonsense. I hope I live to see that day, and I suspect I will. Ad multos annos.

  20. Rev. John M. Lagiovane says:

    Your Excellency,
    May God Bless you! The Church in New York is blessed to have you as our leader in the faith. On behalf of the Administration , faculty, staff and students of Our Lady of Lourdes High School- Our prayers and best wishes go out to you. Ad Multos Annos!

    God Bless,
    Fr John Lagiovane

  21. Josephine says:

    Your Eminence,

    Congratulations and may God bless you and our great city of New York! You are breathing new life into our faith and are a great gift to Catholicism. Thank you God!

  22. Deacon Mike Brainerd says:

    Your Excellency,
    God bless you and congratulations on being chosen for this “higher level of service.” As always, you will be in our prayers. (Brooklyn)

  23. Sylvia says:

    Congratulations from South Dakota! Until recently I lived in Madison WI and I distinctly remember the two times I had the opportunity to hear you speak in person, once in Madison and once in Milwaukee. I have a recording from one of those talks and last summer I referenced it and shared it with my spiritual director.

    Your words of wisdom and the seeds you planted have stuck with me these many years. You have been an instrument of love and peace to so many people and I pray your call to higher service allows the Lord’s work through you to reach even farther and wider places. How honored America is for your service and representation. I pray the transition and move overseas is one of great joy to you each and every day.

  24. Kevin J Hayes says:

    Congratulations, what a lovely position to be elevated to.

    I’m hoping and praying that you are able to raise to the challenge. Being a member of the catholic church from a very young age, to my current age I’ve found myself struggling with how to react…especially to a person that isn’t as accepting as my incredibly religious family. My family was very shocked when I came out as a homosexual, and some of them even considered and did leave the catholic faith because of the inconsistent rants of the catholic church…
    My father asking once “why would we support a church that doesn’t support my family?”
    I’m really hoping that a religion and a belief that I have that God is forgiving, provides all, and is there for us, is really the truth that I can rely upon, and not a fantasy…

    Simply saying, if God made me this way, why is it so hard for my faith to believe that, and support me?

    I do hope that our new Cardinal will feel the same way, and begin to support what changes need to be made in acceptance.


  25. Lisa A. Marrero, MD says:

    Congratulations! May God be always with you, and remain fearless in proclaiming the Truth!

  26. HCS Knight says:

    Your Excellency,

    Though I am very happy for your selection, and believe it to be a very good thing. I am sorry, I’ll be “frank”. I most strongly disagree with the title and general direction of your letter. Specifically, that your selection is more a reflection of the people of the Archdiocese than you.

    Here’s a fact. Roughly half the Catholics in your Archdiocese believe it is okay to vote for a pro-choice politician.

    The Catholic Church in America is a mess “protestant” mess right now. Priest are clearly far more active and concerned with being social workers fighting for Social Justice issues than the Mass and Sacraments. Every week Catholics are subject to long Homilies focused mostly on Social Justice issues. Yet when it comes to the time immediately after Communion, virtually every priest sits down for at most 30-40 seconds and then pops up and starts talking again about such weight issues as parish social events or issues. Really? 30-40 seconds of silence after receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord? Really? After long winded social justice sermons? Really?

    No your Excellency. Your selection was about you and your role in Serving Our Lord. The Church is in grave need of REAL men who stand up and serve the Lord. Not sensitive men who serve man.

    You were chosen your Excellency. Humbly man up and dont for a minute think you were chosen by God because of the people in the Archdiocese.

    The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.–St. John Chrysostom

    I pray you never forget these words.

    The world and the Church needs priests and Bishops who love the Sacrifice of the Mass more than the love of the parish and who love the Sacraments more than being leaders of Social Justice. If they do these things the Social Justice issues will be taken care of by the laity. It should not be the other way around.

    You were chosen Bishop Dolan.
    May God continue to Bless and keep you.

    HCS Knight

  27. Sr.Anne Breen, PDDM says:

    Greetings your eminence, from all the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in the USA Delegation. Praying for you, Congratulations, you make us proud!!

  28. D. L. Meyers says:

    Congratulations, Archbishop Dolan. What an awesome gift to get on the Feast of the Epiphany January 6, 2012 that you will become a Cardinal on February 18, 2012. Red denotes the Christmas Flower – the Poinsetta. Red denotes Our Lord’s Precious Blood shed for us, and co-mingled with, as it were, the Serosanguiness Fluid, from Our Lord’s Sacred Wounded Side; celebrated especially on First Fridays of every month. You may be called on, to shed your blood, for Him, or your will entirely so that all is left is His Witness of the Triumph of the Cross, over sin and death. You will be configured to Christ more so, as this Cross you bear as Cardinal furrows a channel in which the Word of God – the seed of Truth is planted in that furrow, in NY and wherever that cross takes you. Shoulder on. God will give you His Mother and Wise Men along the way, to help you. Either those already in heaven, or on earth, namely the Pope, and your brother Cardinals. Congratulations. Remember Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon said, “Never, never, never run from the cross.” And, you’ll do fine. May God Bless U and Mary Keep U. -+-

  29. Wendell says:

    Congratulations, Your Eminence, from Victoria, B.C., Canada!


    Congrat ! Your Eminence, may the good Lord who elevated you to the office of cardinal grant you His Divne wisdom, joy , love , peace to enable you to do your best in preaching His gospel in the mighty name of Jesus . Amen ! May the one who is called the Father of spotlessness, righteousness and holiness who is God Himself , show you the way of holiness in your life both now and for evermore . May the words of God according to Nehemiah chapter 8:10 come to pass in your life . Amen ! May you live to see the goodness, wonders, favour, blessing , happiness and freedom of the Lord in the land of the living in Jesus’ name . Amen !

  31. May the lord God give you more and bless you for me i think its the begining alot is to come.

    From Uganda

  32. Sharon Ann Weidelman says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    I have always remembered your wonderful kindness to one of my parishioners and his family. Scott Sunnenberg was a student at the North American and was hospitalized, each day you called his dear Mother and updated her about the progress of her Son. You kept her calm and comforted during this trying time. As she or her husband would update me each day they honored your dedication to the well being of their Son! Thank you for today he is a wonderful holy priest! and you now are a Prince of the Church. God Bless you! Prayers for you always.
    Sharon Ann Weidelman
    Springfield Missouri

  33. Congratulations! You are a marvelous gift to the Catholic Church, and it’s nice to know that the Pope recognizes that!!!

  34. Carolyn Bostic says:

    Congratulations. Loved your interview with Matt Lauer and Al Roker. When you’re in Rome, make sure you do a lot of walking around that wonderful restaurant as much as in it. We want a home – grown Missouri, USA boy there as long as possible. God bless you.

  35. Sharon says:

    Congratulations from Australia your eminence. I first came to “know” you through your book “Called To Be Holy” and since reading that book I have tried to follow your eminence via interviews and to read your wise words on the internet.

  36. Sarah Henderson says:


    Dear Cardinal-Elect Timothy Dolan,

    Greetings from Scotland, UK.

    Please may we offer you our warmest congratulations on your elevation to Cardinal-Elect. We are thrilled for you.

    We have hung on your inspiring words since your installation as Archbishop, and are thoroughly delighted for you. Pope Benedict is inspired in his elevation of you . . . absolutely the right thing to do for the well-being of the Church. Well done indeed. We are so happy for you and for the Church.

    With every good wish from Scotland,
    Mick and Sarah Henderson.

  37. congratulations Your Eminence! always enjoy your witness through the Catholic Channel! peace.

  38. Dorothy Krebs McDowell says:

    We are so proud of you, Archbishop! Just a few days ago I was reading from the Bible you gave us when Mac and I were married 26 yrs ago, and I said to myself, I wonder how the Arch Bishop is, and wished I could get in touch with you somehow. I truly felt you were on track for being Pope some day! Then I heard you will be made Cardinal Dolan on Feb. 18! It was a privilege that as a Priest, we were your very first Parish, Immacolata! We miss you and love you!

  39. Susan Saunders says:

    Congratulations on this great call to service! I have followed your ministry from my home in Louisiana. (Diocese of Lafayette, Sacred Heart Parish, Ville Platte, Louisiana).
    My prayer is that you lead our country closer to the Church! God bless you always.

  40. sam says:

    While I’m happy that you have been honored so w/this new title. I beg to differ w/your reasoning re the Holy Father’s honoring NY w/your new title. What about Cardinal Egan who is still alive as far as I know. So it’s not like NY was missing anything until Dolan received this honor. Sorry.

  41. What a wonderful gift recieved ,Congartulation Archbishop Dolan.

  42. God Bless you Cardinal Dolan! Prayers for all our priests!
    I love New York! Go St. Patrick’s Cathedral!
    With prayers and love,
    Diocese of Orlando, Florida!!!!!

  43. Ivana Antunovic says:

    Your Excellency,

    I can´t write English very good. But I want to tell You, I´m grateful to God that he invitid you to the Cardinal Servant. God bless You und Mather Mary, Queen of Peace be with You.
    I will pray for You and for our holy Curch in New York.

    In Love Christi
    Medjugorje, Bosnian and Herzegovina

  44. maureen and Tom McCormack says:

    Across the river in Brooklyn we are celebrating too!!! Congratulations on a well deserved honor and a much needed representative of New York in Rome.

    Many prayers for you!!

  45. Congratulations to Abp. Timothy Dolan of New York on becoming a Prince of The Church this coming Feb. 18th! We’ve been wishing for this meritorious honor since the passing of +John Cardinal O’Connor of New York. The Holy Father couldn’t have picked a better guy. I pray that the Holy Spirit will select this Archbishop of NY for the Chair of St. Peter in Rome one day… (St. Anthony’s Bread Mission Apostolate)

  46. David Vande leest says:

    Archbishop Dolan;

    Congratulations on your promotion to Cardinal! There was never a doubt. Congrats from your Spirtual family in Milwaukee. You are missed here!

  47. Raul M. Ubieta says:

    Congratulations and best wishes on your appointment to Cardinal. May God continue to bless you.

    Raul M. Ubieta
    Miami, Florida

  48. Amy R. Salerno, MD says:

    First I wish to congratulate you for your well-deserved selection as Cardinal. This is a joyous occasion which all Catholics and many non-Catholics will celebrate. On a less happy note, I would like to comment on the public announcements regarding Bishop Gabino of the Los Angeles Archiocese and his transgressions.

    I find it disturbing that the Archbishop of Los Angeles fails to address the core issue of the transgression of Bishop Gabino himself! Instead, the Archbishop of Los Angeles asks in his formal statement on the Archdiocesan of L.A. Website for the ‘flock to do penance..’. Penance for what? Have the people done wrong in this situation? Or is this another example of the Church imposing guilt upon the parishioners for the sins of someone else? In addition, when the Archbishop states that the Achdiocese of L.A. Will ” provide spiritual guidance to the mother and financial assstance for the college funds of Bishop Gabino’s two children,” it implies that ” solution to the problem” is to pay off his paramour and their two children. It is troubling that the Church would offer parishioner’s hard earned money to appease the mistakes of yet another fallen priest.

    Archbishop Dolan, so many of my friends and family admire you and your faith journey tremendously. Can you help us to understand what’s going on here?


    Amy R. Salerno, M.D.

  49. Louise Wolpert says:

    Congratulations from Indiana, Cardinal Dolan! You now have a new red hat hat to wear, I will pray for you that it will not turn into a bulls-eye for every disgruntled person who misunderstand what a great faith we have.

  50. Gisselle says:

    Many congratulations! May God guide you in this new service.