Love, Prayers, and Best Wishes from Rome

Well, I did it again…

It’s usually one of the very first things I do on my first full day back in Rome…

Early in the morning, I walk down the Janiculum  Hill – where I stay at the North American College – to Saint Peter’s Basilica, there to go to confession and then to celebrate Mass.

Two powerful sacraments, Eucharist and Reconciliation, constants of our spiritual life, at the heart of the church, near the tomb of Saint Peter.

I don’t want you to think that I only approach confession when I’m in Rome!

At home with you in New York I try to go every two weeks, because I need it.

But it does have a special urgency and meaning here in Rome.

Near the tomb of Saint Peter, I can hear Jesus ask Him three times: “Simon, do you love me?” and then examine my conscience to see how I have failed to love the Lord and take care of his sheep.

Near his tomb, I picture myself, like Saint Peter, doubting Jesus and sinking in the waters of the storm.

Adjacent to his burial place, I even admit that, like Peter, I have, in my thoughts, words, and actions, denied Jesus.

So my contrition is strong, my purpose of amendment firm, and I approach one of the Franciscans for confession in the corner of the massive basilica.

Then I say my penance before the tomb of Peter, under the high altar, and go to vest for the greatest prayer of all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And then I go for pasta….

Lent begins next Wednesday.  I’ll be back to start it with you.

Sometime over those forty days leading up to Easter, take a cue from your archbishop: get back to confession!

 My love, prayers, and best wishes from Rome.

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45 Responses to “Love, Prayers, and Best Wishes from Rome”

  1. Linda Glassman says:

    May God bless you with every good gift, grace and blessing, and bring you safely home.

  2. Oh, you’re so making me need the sacrament, Archbishop. You’re in my favorite city ever, praying and eating the best pasta in the world… and I’m so jealous!

    Congratulations on your new appointment, Archbisho Dolan. You’re in my prayers. And thanks for the kick in the rear; needed that!

  3. Liz F says:

    God bless you!

  4. Rita Quinn says:

    May God bless you and keep you as spiritual as you are today, and also, as human. I would love to be able to go to confession to you. When will confession be part of the digital age? Would not Jesus have used the internet to forgive sinners, from a distant town on facebook or twitter or using skype? Maybe you can talk to Pope Benedict about this. Many would return to the Church, the Sacraments and the Faith and join the process of evangelization.These comments are not frivolous. I am truly serious and seventy-four, not a teenager.
    PS- Enjoy the pasta, but not too much. We need a healthy, vigorous pastor, in NY, who will be around for a long time, until perhaps, he becomes the first American Pope. God bless you and your whole family.okloar

  5. Denise Smith says:

    Oh Archbishop–please know the Deacon and I are with you in spirit!

    God is good!

  6. TtT Engine says:

    Bishop Dolan, I am lighting my votive candles at home right after I read your pre-Lenten message. My prayers are with you. The enemies of the Trinity and the Catholic Church are many, even within our towers. We need the conviction and the powerful words of John the Baptist to be our swords and chariots. May the Holy Trinity work through the power of your Cardinalship. May the Holy Spirit enlighten you and may the Blood of the Cross empower you. Christi Fidelis !

  7. Morrie Chamberlain says:

    The best thing that I ever did was volunteer to teach a class of second graders to prepare them for their First Confession. At the conclusion, I realized I would be a hypocrite if I did not go with them. I got rid of all my demons and I felt so free. I had asked God for forgiveness many times but nothing could prepare me for the incredible liberation and joy i felt going to conession. My wife soon joined me and then many years later our sons when they were old enough. I tell every Catholic I meet, go to Confession. By the grace of God when my three sons return home for summer or Christmas break from college and medical school, they all go to confession on their own with no prompting every couple weeks.

  8. Thank you for your love and prayers and for always walking with us in FAITH! Know that you are loved in return and held close in prayer as well. May God bless and strengthen you as you are elevated to the College of Cardinals this weekend! (Please give Papa Benedict our love and let him know that his children pray for him always.) Safe journey home, Cardinal!! =)

  9. Sean K. says:

    When going through RCIA a few years ago, I asked how often I should go to confession. One of our wonderful teachers replied, “How often do you do laundry?” Made perfect sense.

  10. June says:

    Praying for you, even though you’re not my archbishop (but wish you were)! I will offer my Mass tomorrow morning for you. Good luck on Saturday!

  11. June says:

    Good luck on Saturday Archbishop Dolan! I will offer my Mass for you on Friday morning East Coast time!

  12. Judy Kallmeyer says:

    Dear Cardinal Designate Dolan,

    You are a true joy! Your faith and obvious love for your priesthood are wonderful to behold. Your glorious humanity is a gift to all of us. May the Lord, “Who has begun this good work in you,” bring it to a glorious completion. May His grace abound, His love overflow and His peace surround you always!

    Thank you for being a shepherd after the Lord’s own heart.

    With sincere good wishes and promise of prayers,

    Judy Kallmeyer

  13. Martin W. Kopinski says:

    Dear Bishop
    I applaud you. I encourage you. I pray for you. Please stay the course! Thank you for not accepting the compromise on the HHS issue. Remain strong and committed to the truth.

    The window is open and the fresh air has entered the house. Keep it coming.

    Thank you ever so much.
    Kind Regards
    Martin Kopinski

  14. magdalene says:

    I generally go to confession every week. And a number of my fellow parishioners do as well. We are very fortunate in that the Sacrament is offered at my parish 6 days a week! When it is only offered for 30-45 minutes on a Saturday, there are not many who go but when it is offered daily, many people will come.

    Confession at least every other week allows one to seek plenary indulgences which is so important for the holy souls in Purgatory.

  15. RichardC says:

    God bless you Bishop Dolan. Paul A. Rahe, in an essay entitle American Catholocism’s Pact with Devil writes in the first paragraph: “At the prospect that institutions associated with the Catholic Church would be required to offer to their employees health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients, the bishops, priests, and nuns scream bloody murder. But they raise no objection at all to the fact that Catholic employers and corporations, large and small, owned wholly or partially by Roman Catholics will be required to do the same. The freedom of the church as an institution to distance itself from that which its doctrines decry as morally wrong is considered sacrosanct. The liberty of its members – not to mention the liberty belonging to the adherents of other Christian sects, to Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – to do the same they are perfectly willing to sacrifice.”

    Is that true?

  16. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Hurry Your Eminence. The country is wondering who speaks for the Church. Ms. Carol Keehan has taken the reigns in your absence. Help us!!!

    What Did CHA’s Carol Keehan Know and When Did She Know It?
    Register news analysis: As threats to religious liberty escalate, critics say it’s time to establish who truly speaks for the Church in the United States.
    Shareby JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND02/14/2012 Comments (55)

    Vice President Joseph Biden speaks on health care as Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (l) and Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (r) listen at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House July 8, 2009.

    – Alex Wong/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Feb. 10 confirmed that his administration was offering an “accommodation” to religious groups opposed to a controversial federal rule requiring private health plans to provide contraception and abortion services.

    As reported in the media, church-affiliated employers would not have to directly cover those services; instead, their insurance plans would cover them.

    The announcement prompted an expression of gratitude from Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, and a polite, but wary response from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said they needed to study the proposed modification.

    That evening, the bishops’ conference formally rejected the president’s “accommodation” as essentially meaningless.

    For the rest of the weekend, amid a blur of news headlines and talking heads that offered conflicting judgments, the faithful in the pews struggled to determine what, if anything, had changed regarding the administration’s policy.

    The contrasting responses from the CHA leader and the USCCB have left Catholics and the general public confused about who speaks for the Church on a matter of grave institutional concern and whether the Obama administration exploited a lack of clarity about that matter.

    The dueling positions have fueled questions about the basis of Sister Carol’s endorsement: USCCB officials and health-care experts have since confirmed that the government has not issued any binding regulations that legally override the controversial contraception mandate finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 20.

    Subsequent media coverage and interviews suggest that while the White House cleared its talking points with Sister Carol in advance of the president’s public address, the USCCB had been excluded from the administration’s deliberations.

    “Obama has made clear who is part of his ideological coalition and who is not. Discussions on the structure and restructuring of the contraceptive policy were conducted between the administration and pro-choice and feminist groups. The institutions targeted by the mandate — particularly those represented by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — were not in the room,” stated Michael Gerson in a column published in The Washington Post today.

    “The administration engaged in no substantive consultation with Catholic bishops, who were only called to receive pronouncements. Interest-group liberalism is alive and well in the Obama White House,” Gerson wrote.

    Special Treatment?

    However, media reports suggest that Sister Carol received special treatment from the White House. A Feb. 10 New York Times story reported that the president’s “accommodation” was designed specifically to address Sister Carol’s concerns, not those of the U.S. bishops.

    “The fight was for Sister Carol Keehan — head of an influential Catholic hospital group, who had supported President Obama’s health-care law — and Catholic allies of the White House seen as the religious left,” reported the Times.

    Richard Doerflinger, the U.S. bishops’ chief lobbyist on life issues, confirmed that the conference had not received the relevant documents regarding the reported “accommodation” until Friday evening and that more information arrived on “Saturday, Feb. 11, at 5:27pm.”

    After the close of the Friday workday, said Doerflinger, the conference was finally able to sift through all the documents — only to conclude that nothing of substance had changed since the HHS final rule was approved last month.

    That same rule had been “finalized without change,” said Doerflinger, who stressed one single point: “The only thing that has force of law is that same final rule. It’s still in place. The rest is something that might happen.”

    The administration informed the USCCB that “some time in the coming months we will issue new rulemaking for organizations that are not exempt from the mandate,” Doerflinger said.

    “An organization that morally objects to these services is not exempt,” said Doerflinger. “It is not able to give its employees a plan without this contraception mandate.”

    In striking contrast to the USCCB’s conclusion, Sister Carol greeted the president’s “accommodation” with enthusiasm. Her support was touted by the administration and cited in media coverage of the breaking story.

    By Feb. 11, the White House blog had posted statements from Sister Carol, Catholic Charities USA and Planned Parenthood supporting Obama’s “accommodation.” However, the Catholic Charities USA statement, a modified version of that organization’s original and more enthusiastic response to the president’s move, could not be described as an endorsement.

    Sister Carol, however, has not modified her response to the president’s overture. From the beginning, her endorsement asserted that religious-liberty concerns had been addressed.

    But she did not specify how the president’s action had met the concerns of church-affiliated institutions, including the members of her association.

    Did Sister Carol receive additional binding assurances or was she simply trusting the president to make good on his promise to a faithful ally?

    A review of the CHA website suggests that its CEO and president does not, in fact, have all the facts. A new statement assures anxious members that the organization “will review the proposed new rules for the HHS mandate.”

    “CHA looks forward to reviewing the specifics of the changes in the mandated benefits. Many members have called with questions about these since they were a concern as first published. On Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, we were notified that our organizations would not have to buy or refer employees for contraception and other services. We were also told that the self-insured plans would be accommodated in this. At this time, there are many unanswered questions about specifics. We now have the challenging work of reviewing the proposed rules, examining their impact and giving input before they are finalized.

    “Because many members have asked about specifics in the rules and also the process for applying for the one-year exception, we have included links to the rules and to the guidance on the safe harbor with this email.”

    “As more is known about this, we will be getting that information out to the membership as quickly as possible,” read the new statement.

    But if the CHA has not established the specifics of the “accommodation,” why did Sister Carol endorse it?

    Sister Carol did not respond to a request for clarification. Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, the episcopal liaison on the CHA board, referred requests for comment to the CHA.

    It is still not clear whether the board approved Sister Carol’s statement on Feb. 10, as Sister Carol and Bishop Vann did not respond to questions regarding this point.

    Who Speaks for the Church?

    The confusion and possible institutional damage generated by Sister Carol’s public endorsement have led some Catholic experts in the health-care field to demand an accounting.

    “On the basis of what information and what authority did she issue this endorsement? It’s embarrassing from a policy standpoint,” noted Paul Danello, an expert on civil and canon law issues in Catholic health care, who has received calls from Catholic hospitals worried about the implications of the HHS final rule.

    “If the CHA board hasn’t authorized this, if she has no mandate from the USCCB, and if there are no legally binding documents, she is operating without any legal, governance or regulatory basis. That is a hell of a situation for a Roman Catholic nun that heads the Catholic Health Association to be in.”

    Danello says it’s past time for Church leaders to address Sister Carol’s public statements and actions with regard to the formal Church policy on a complex and critical issue.

    “It’s the right hand fighting against the left hand,” he said. “Who is speaking for the Church here? The Church needs to get its house in order.”

    Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/what-did-catholic-health-associations-sister-carol-know-and-when-did-she-kn/#ixzz1mT2xtgDP

    Link – http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/what-did-catholic-health-associations-sister-carol-know-and-when-did-she-kn/

  17. Les says:

    Two things I do not understand when people talk about Confession: 1 – fear before going; 2 – feeling free/joy after going. Meyers-Briggs pegs me at about 90-95% thinking. I do not understand feelings — neither a fear of going nor freedom after. A radio show host was talking last night about the feminization of the churches — the language of “accept Jesus into your heart” appeals more to women than to men because women like to talk about feelings and relationships more than men do. Sometime I’d like to see an article on Confession that does not involve feelings. Perhaps such an article will convince more men to go.

  18. Sue R says:

    May God bless you and keep you on your journey. I have been so impressed by your strength in recent days. I will continue to pray that you may remain steadfast.

    My family has been going every 6-8 weeks to Confession and I know that it is time without looking at the calendar. My soul thirsts for the sacrament. Thank you for being such a wonderful example to your flock.

  19. Carol says:

    Archbishop Dolan, you have my greatest admiration and respect for the courage you have shown in your fight against the Healthcare Mandate proposed by the Obama Administration. I hope you enjoy your stay in Rome. I also try to go to confession eery two weeks. It makes such a difference in my daily life.

  20. Tina says:

    God be with you Timothy Cardinal-Designate Dolan. We need your leadership and wise counsel. Guard your sheep! Sometimes the shepherd has to take on the role of a warrior in order to protect his lambs from the attacking wolves. I’m praying for you Cardinal Dolan.

  21. Larry says:

    Great idea but where I live, it last for only an hour, is once amonth. You can go weekly downtown san jose, but you’ll pay 10.00 for parking. I have given up.

  22. Msgr David Rubino says:

    Cardinal Dolan:

    My prayers and my thanks to you for bring to our Church a sense of honest joy in facing our complicated church issues, problems and concerns. You teach by how you live that joy and hope are significant elements of a holy life.
    Enjoy Saturday.

    David Rubino,
    Erie, PA

  23. Julie Natalio says:

    thank you Cardinal-designate Archbishop Dolan,
    You are among the great sons and leaders of the Catholic Church. We, the sheep are blessed to have you.

  24. Mary in TX says:

    I just love you, Cardinal Dolan! Come home soon, to shepherd us!

  25. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Have a wonderful happy healthy holy weekend Your Eminence. Don’t forget – I told you a long time ago that you were chosen.

    First as a Bishop – then as Archbishop of NY – now Cardinal. I get the feeling it ain’t over yet. Habemus Papem anyone?

    May God continue to bless you and give you the fortitude for the fight you no doubt will endure.

    And lest you forget:

    Millions of us “got your back.” Lead us!

  26. laura says:

    Very nice post, Father. The past few years I have a new appreciation for confession (blame Padre Pio, lol). I actually look forward to it now. I wanted to wish you well tomorrow and congratulations on the appointment of Cardinal. You are in my prayers.

    PS: Bring me back some pasta :-)

  27. I’ve always been Catholic. I always will be Catholic. We met in a social “type” envoirment and you saw me limping with my handy cane with with scapular showing around my neckand stopped me and said “you’re one of ours” I said yes and we “chuckled” “. I will never forget that moment when you blessed me ( yes it was a restaurant) AND I BELIEVEd I NEEDED ALL the blessings I could get. POINT is “you’ve brought me back” with your friendliness and compassion and blessings. Now I “speak” with the LORD ABOVE” many times a day! ( just to keep me going like the everready bunny) Opps should not be funny here. Congradulations on your elevation. God keep you and the other new Cardinals and our Pope. God Bless Lynn Daly-Mizuki

  28. mary mandeville says:

    Archbishop Dolan,

    I don’t know if you remember my family from Bethesda, Md. You spent some time at Little Flower when Monsignor Coyne and Father Francis Early were there. I am Mary Mandeville. My son, Kenny used to serve on the altar with you on Sunday mornings. He unfortunately died 5 years ago at the young age of 31. He had many happy memories of you and your joyful spirit. I pray that you never loose that joyful spirit with the added responsibility.

    Once you get settled Father Early promised that we would come up via Amtrak and visit you one day.

    I pray for you and I hope the prayers are returned from you.

    God bless you,

    Mary Mandeville

  29. Your Eminence, Prayers and best wishes as you assume the responsibilities as a Cardinal of our church. I appreciate the way you present the teachings of the church. I admire your ability to especially explain the diifficult issues we are facing, as church in such a positive clear way so that our postions are understood by all, without ever compromising the Truth. I am grateful for your positive witness to Jesus and to His Church, and as a priest I am truly inspired by your pastoral ministry

    Respectfully, Fr. Paul A. Cannariato

  30. Dr. Frank Marotti says:

    It all makes me reflect–how many “Jeremy Lins” have been “terminated” in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade? In fact, it is puzzling to me how our popular culture embraces “underdogs” who “come from nowhere” in sport, but somehow does not “root for” innocent, defenseless unborn children, the ultimate underdogs. Cardinal Dolan must continue to be a roaring lion for the unborn and a tenacious bulldog who latches on to the trousers of the abortionists and does not let go. And we as the faithful must awake from our stupor.

  31. Kirsten Laux says:

    God Bless you CARDINAL Dolan. I watched today with tears of joy with my sons, ages 10 and 8 and felt all the joy of the day! So very glad. Msgr. Colacicco from St.Columba could be there to share it with you for all of us!!

  32. Barb Durtche says:

    I practice a different faith so don’t know the right words. Do I offer congratulations? I’ll say it the best I can. My prayers are with you.
    I admire you greatly. I admire your convictions. I admire your gift for bringing people together. I admire your warmth….it SHINES. You’ve given this Presbyterian a wonderful example of how to live.
    By the way, I’ll never forget a service in Milwaukee that I attended. You were giving your homily and a little boy caught your eye. You waved at him with a huge warm smile. That’s never going to leave me.

  33. Timothy Davies says:

    Your Eminence, I did exactly the same thing on my last visit to Rome — early morning Mass and Confession in St Peter’s Basilica. A wonderful way to begin any pilgrimage/visit to the Eternal City — especially now that the faithful now have the choice of Mass in the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form (at the Altar of the Transfiguration). Congratulations from one Timothy to another!

  34. Julius J. Spohn says:

    Was it only me or did others notice that Pope Benedict was smiling at Cardinal Dolan as the Archbishop of New York approached the Pope seated at the altar in St. Peters Cathedral, was smiling at him when he placed the red Cardinal’s hat (biretta) on his head, and continued to smile at him as the new Timothy Cardinal Dolan got up and made his exit from the Pope. I didn’t notice the Pope smiling at any of the other new Cardinals like that. One can tell of the close, personal, friendship and bond that these two men have formed with eachother over the years. God Bless Pope Benedict and God Bless Cardinal Dolan as he leads the Catholic church in New York and in the United States in the coming years. He’ll need all of our prayers.

    Julius J. Spohn

    Newark, NJ

  35. am says:

    Great. I will have to do the same next time I’m in Rome – except celebrating Mass;)

    Best wishes and congrats from Lithuania, Your Eminence!

  36. Amy says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Congratulations on your elevation. You are a true inspiration to Catholics and non Catholics alike. Your example not only urges me to be a better Catholic, but to be a better person as well.
    I believe the good Lord is preparing many special days ahead for your role in the church. You’ve only just begun! God bless you always. You’re in my prayers.

  37. Christine Zainer MD says:

    A priest gave a homily saying that there is only one gospel noting a person in hell — the rich man who ignored Lazarus — he didn’t cause Lazarus’ poverty or abuse him, he just ignored him. His sin was a sin of OMISSION. How long will we, including cardinals, bishops, priests and laity omit teaching why contraception is a sin, intrinsically evil, wrong? Proabortion, cleverly deceptive Mr. Obama, under the unjust “Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)” wants “free” contraception for all women. Free? Affordable? Not a chance. The “COSTS OF CONTRACEPTION” are high, too high… lives of tiny preimplantation embryos lost; increased heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer for women; more abortions; more divorce; less money for real diseases; more poverty; loss of consciences; loss of religious freedom; loss of our souls. No, the true COSTS of CONTRACEPTION are too high for all of us. After confession, with a firm purpose of amendment, let us proclaim the Truth about the unity of LOVE and LIFE in the natural, self-giving, marital act of intercourse and expose the deceptions of contraception… while the government still “allows” freedom of speech. Coraggio!

  38. Irene says:

    I wish we could have confessors; as a woman, I would like to be able to talk to another woman.

  39. Irene says:

    My comment at 5:51 am, I meant to say I wish we could have “women confessors”

  40. katie says:

    Congratulations Cardinal Dolan. It was my Birthday today and I wanted to hear your sermon. I was stuck at work (i work in open heart surgery) I made it there by 2 for my ashes. I feel blessed that my ashes came from the same priest that gave you yours. Can you post your sermon? I will try for lent to make it to the early mass everyday. I believe you can change the world one baseball fan at a time.

  41. Fidelis V says:

    Congratulations from Brazil Cardinal Dolan
    You are among the great leaders of the Church. We are blessed to have you.

  42. Radu says:

    Greetings from Romania! I translate right now your speech in front of Cardinals (from last Friday) and I love it. It will be published in an online magazine, so other (co-nationals of ours) can read it. I already translated several news with and about you (on our national Catholic news service), so… you are a popular figure even for Romanian Catholics.
    Yours in Christ!

  43. Mickey Krebs (Michelene) says:

    Thank you for being such an inspiration–from a former St. Louisan now living in Virginia–and I love NY!

  44. Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    Your words about the red as a reminder of the requirement to be willing to shed blood for the faith reminds me of an article that I published in Rome in November called “My Interview with Saint Peter and the Art of Martyrdom”. It is on my website-http://www.sullivanart.com/my_interview_with_saint_peter4.html

    If an Irishman is full of God’s joy everyone can see it, thank you.
    Cornelius

  45. Shu Dall says:

    Wow I love your words of inspiration. Thank you