Greetings Again from Rome

Greetings again from Rome, the Eternal City, the See of Saints Peter and Paul!

I miss you!  It’s been ten days since I left the archdiocese, and as the old song goes, “I wanna go home!”  Especially will I miss you all on Saint Patrick’s Day, the Feast of the patron of our great archdiocese and our renowned cathedral.  So far, I’ve been unable to find any Irish brown bread, corned-beef, or whiskey.  (Don’t get me wrong; I love the food and wine here in Rome!)

Heartfelt thanks for your prayers!  We need them!  We feel them!  Keep them up!  An old-timer told me that the days between the passing of one Pontiff and the election of a new one are like the days in Jerusalem after Our Lord’s Ascension to heaven.  The whole Church prayed, prayed hard, prayed long, united with the apostles and the Mother of Jesus, who were locked-up in the Cenacle, awaiting the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit!  That’s happening now, if your abundant and gracious notes and messages are any indication.

And we cardinals sure are praying a lot.  Every day we each begin with the most effective prayer of all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In our sessions we pray from the Divine Office, begin each meeting with the ancient prayer to the third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Veni Sancte Spiritus, and we break at lunch with the beautiful words of the Angelus.  Wednesday, we cardinals made a Holy Hour of adoration before Jesus, really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, at the Altar of the Chair in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

We’re praying a lot; and, from what I hear, so are you.  Thanks!

Actually, we are back in that Upper Room with Our Lady and the apostles, and the challenges we – and the new Saint Peter – will face are, surprisingly, similar to those the first Pope, Saint Peter, confronted that first Pentecost: how most effectively to present the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus to a world that, while searching for salvation and eternal truth, are also at times doubting, skeptical, too busy, or frustrated.

So, you may be astonished to hear, we spend most of our times discussing issues such as preaching; teaching the faith; celebrating the seven sacraments; inviting back those believers who have left; serving the sick and poor, the “least of these;” sustaining our splendid schools, hospitals, and agencies of charity; encouraging our brother priests, bishops, deacons, and consecrated women and men religious; supporting our pastors – and getting more of them! – and our parishes; forming future priests well; loving our married couples and our families, and defending the dignity of marriage; protecting life where it is most in danger because of war, poverty, or abortion; and reinforcing the universal call to holiness given all in the Church.

Those are the “big issues.”  You may find that hard to believe, since the “word on the street” is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money.  Do these topics come up?  Yes!  Do they dominate?  No!

A journalist – and, by the way, the reporters from home have been mostly amazingly patient, attentive, and thoughtfully curious – asked if the new Pope would bring radical change to the Church.  She seemed surprised when I replied, yes!  At least I had her full attention!  I then went on to clarify that the Church was “big-time” into change; namely, a change in the human heart, which Jesus called repentance or conversion.  The “job description” of the Bishop of Rome is to conserve the faith, the truths of which have been revealed to us by God, especially through His Son, Jesus, faithfully passed on by His Church these past 2000 years, and to renew the invitation of Jesus to a change of heart.

So these days in Rome are hardly about the “board of governors” meeting to discuss changes to Church “policy,” but about how to present timeless beliefs more effectively.

Do names come up?  Sure. But the name most spoken about is the Most Holy Name of Jesus!

Would you say His Holy Name and ask Him to send us His grace and mercy?  Thanks!

10 Responses to “Greetings Again from Rome”

  1. Thanks for your up-to-date messaging. We’re behind you with prayers and fasting.
    Thanks for yours.
    Holy Spirit lead us on!!!

  2. florin says:

    March 8th, how grateful we are to your Emminence for keeping us informed. We are indeed praying for you. Surely you bring to bring Governor Cuomo who is striving to make abortion legal for any reason, at any time, in any place and to make it legal for non-medical personnel to perform abortions. What a tragedy! Can you imagine anyone being able to set up an abortion facility and perform abortions? I worked with Mother Theresa in Calcutta and she used to say: “If we would kill the baby in the womb, what would we not do?” and “A nation that kills its young cannot survive.” Mother Theresa believed that the killing of human babies in the wombs of their mothers is the source of all the expanding evil in our world today. We know you will hold all this in prayer as you enter the Conclave to choose our next Pope and we promise to hold you in prayer in a special way at this time. May the Holy Spirit guide you and protect you.

  3. Rosemary says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    What a privilege for you to be in Rome and to participate in this historical moment: the selection of a new Pope. Yes, we are praying with and for all of you and especially for him! I hope you have time to read this before you enter the auspicious sacred gathering where you and your brother Cardinals will perform a most sacred task.

    Timothy, because you know how I (Carmen Miranda!) appreciated your ministry here in Milwaukee, I trust that you will understand that I respectfully disagree with what I hear reported of you as you move toward the Conclave. It is said that you believe that the Pope’s role is to PRESERVE the tradition. There is considerable question about this conclusion.

    I brazenly quote here some reflections of Leonardo Boff, who yes, was one of the 100 theologians punished by then Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. This was the action of someone who prefers to PRESERVE rather than to dialogue and discover what the Spirit might be doing in our era.

    Before entering the Conclave, I hope you have an opportunity to read and contemplate what Leonardo and I have to offer:

    The profile of the new Pope, in my opinion, should not be that of a man of power nor of a man of the institution. Where there is power love does not exist and mercy disappears.

    The new Pope should be a pastor, closer to the faithful and to all human beings, independently of their moral, political and ethnic situations.

    He should have as a motto the words of Jesus mentioned above: “and he who cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”, because Jesus of Nazareth welcomed everyone, from a prostitute such as Magdalen to a theologian such as Nicodemus.

    He should not be a man of the West that is seen now as an accident of history, but a man of the vast globalized world who feels a passion for the poor and for the suffering cry of the Earth, devastated by consumerist greed.

    He should not be a man of certitudes but someone who encourages all to find better paths. He would logically be guided by the Gospels but without a proselytizing spirit, with the consciousness that the Spirit always arrives before the missionary and that the Word illuminates all men and women who come to this world, as Gospel writer Saint John says.

    He should be a profoundly spiritual man open to all religious paths, that together they keep alive the sacred flame that is in every person: the mysterious presence of God.

    And, finally, he should be a man of profound goodness, in the style of Pope John XXIII, with tenderness for the humble and a prophetic firmness to denounce those who promote exploitation and who make of violence and war instruments to dominate others and the world.

    May a man of this type prevail in the negotiations of the cardinals in the conclave and over the tensions of the tendencies. How the Holy Spirit works there is a mystery. He has no other voice, or other head, than those of the Cardinals. May the Spirit not fail them.

    Thank you dear Timothy, and be assured of my company in heart, thought and prayer as you embrace this sacred duty and help choose our next Pope.

    Rosemary Huddleston, OP aka Robi

  4. George Fincik says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Pax Vobiscum!

    The “media” and Internet messages here are indicating that the American Cardinals
    were silenced because of pre-Conclave leaks. We know that the Americans did nothing of the sort. But, I do urge the Cardinals to resist any pressure to move along speedily. Festina Lente! Or as my Dad would say in Slovak: Po mali i stedy = Slowly and continuously. Same message: make haste slowly.

    For quite a few months now, long before Pope Benedict made his announcement to “retire,” I began by inspiration to daily pray 50 times on my rosary: “Come Holy Spirit and save Your Church.” i had no clue why I had such an urgent need to pray in this manner. Now I know.

    George Fincik
    Smithfield, RI

  5. Luis says:

    We are praying for you all that you may be showered with graces during this important time. And we are convinced that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide Holy Mother Church. We also have great affection for our shepherds!

  6. Dzung Nguyen says:

    We fervently pray that the College of Cardinals will carry out the wish of our Lord. May the Supreme Pastor through the intercession of Our Lady Cblesses you all with graces.

  7. To our dear Archbishop and Cardinal.

    We miss you also. We met you in St. Theresa’s Church, Staten Island. We loved Rome and attending mass, etc. in the Vatican. It was an a inspiring experience for us as a couple.

    We found the Trinity College Pub, off the Via Del Collegio Romano 6, to be wonderful. It is near St. Ignatious Church. A small pub, similar to the ones we find in Manhattan, London, and I am sure Ireland. Maybe they could accommodate your corned beef craving, an Irish American staple.

    We are praying for you and your fellow cardinals as you enter conclave. May God hold you all in the palm of Hus hands. May His spirit gently whisper and inspire you all as make this tremendous decision.

  8. Lucas says:

    Dear Bishop Dolan,

    My name is Lucas and I am from Santos (which means “Saints”), SP, Brazil. We are praying vividly for the Church, especially for our cardinals. Thank you for your love and dedication to the Hole Church.

    United in prayers, with my compliments,

    Lucas R. Leandro

  9. Tom Amberg says:

    I am indeed praying, but I am actually _discouraged_ by what I read here.

    If you want to increase the effectiveness of your preaching, make people interested in learning the faith, to do proper honor to the seven sacraments, HELP THOSE BELIEVERS WHO LEFT REGAIN SOME TRUST IN THE CHURCH, make the sick and poor less wary of you, etc….

    …then, for the Love of God (incredibly literally in this case), the corruption and ESPECIALLY THE SEXUAL ABUSE issues must come front and center. For once, they must dominate!

    I’m trying hard to fulfill my role in “the new evangelization”. However, trying to sell the Church while (to unfortunately name names) Bernard Law luxuriates in the Vatican and Mahoney is voting in the conclave is like trying to sell a house made with some pieces of radioactive drywall.

    Is that flaw in the foundation? No. Can it be dealt with by removal? Yes. But for some strange reason, some influential members of the family that owns the house just want to wallpaper over that radioactive drywall. And here you’re telling me here that when the family gets together, they talk about how to invite people to the house, to spruce up it’s gardens, etc. but dealing with the most glaringly obvious problem “doesn’t dominate”.

    Don’t repeat the “seamless garment” mistake that sapped the Church of any focus on the killing of those in the womb. Make sure you not only elect a Pope that recognizes – as our loved Pope Emeritus did – that there exists a “filth” within the Church, but _also_ give them the organizational tools and fealty to actually immediately deal with the issue.

    We want to love our Bishops and Cardinals, but you make is oh-so hard for it to be anything other than a tough love.

  10. Paula says:

    Buenos días,
    sólo soy una joven católica española, y quería darle las gracias querido cardenal Dolan por esta entrañable carta a sus feligreses de Nueva York. Yo no lo soy, pero me ha encantado y siento como si lo fuera. Encontré una pequeña traducción en una página web católica ( y he buscado su blog para leerla en inglés original aunque me ha costado un poquito.

    Gracias también por el enorme servicio que hace como cardenal en el cónclave. Sepa que estamos rezando por todos ustedes, para que el Espíritu Santo les ilumine y les bendiga y puedan elegir un Papa Santo. En mi parroquia hemos quedado a rezar por ustedes y en las Eucaristías seguimos pidiéndolo. Y el día 12 lo volveremos a hacer. Y yo por mi parte intentaré rezar la novena a San José.

    A partir de ahora seguiré su blog que me ha parecido muy interesante, ya que sus palabras me ayudan a acercarme a Jesucristo y me aumentan la fe.

    Un fuerte abrazo,
    La Paz en Cristo