Good morning! Buon Giorno! Happy Columbus Day!
Welcome to this ritual of blessing our newly repaired and restored doors here at our city’s, our nation’s, spiritual gem, America’s parish church, our beloved Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Cardinal Egan, my brother bishops, Monsignor Ritchie, the rector of this Cathedral, my brother priests, join me in welcoming all of you, inside and outside of this sacred temple, as do prominent board members, trustees, and allies:
Anthony and Christie DiNicola
Sam and Melody DiPiazza
Judge Milton Williams
And so many more….
These leaders join me in saying Benvenuti this splendid autumn morning, Columbus Day.
You know what Jesus said to the patron saint of Italy, St. Francis of Assisi, from the crucifix at the crumbling church of San Damiano: Rebuild my church!
We have heard Jesus say the same to us, Rebuild my church, as a year-and-a-half ago, on Saint Patrick’s Day, we began the repair, restoration, and renewal of this historic soul of New York City.
Thanks to generous benefactors.
Thanks to our artisans –
Jim and Colleen Donaghy
And, thanks especially to God’s grace, the repair, restoration, and rebuilding progresses.
How fitting that we’d halt to bless these restored doors:
Through them have passed saints and future saints:
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants
The body of Venerable Pierre Toussaint
Venerable Dorothy Day
Venerable Terence Cooke
Venerable Fulton Sheen
Through these doors have passed future Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II (twice!), Pope Benedict XVI.
Through these doors have passed immigrants and their children from Italy and from all over the world, who, with tears in their eyes from leaving their homes behind, had a smile on their face as they realized that, at St. Pat’s, they had a spiritual home.
Through these doors came not only saints, popes, immigrants…but sinners, people searching, seeking, and struggling, like you and me, who, once through these doors, know that our Heavenly Father embraces them.
Members of the Columbus Citizen’s Foundation Board:
President and Mrs. Fusaro
Grand Marshal and Mrs. Perella
Mr. and Mrs. Mattone
Mr. and Mrs. Trennert
Mr. and Mrs. Freda
And Consul General Natalia Quintavalle
Thank you for so graciously representing the millions of immigrants from beloved Italy, and from all over the world, who, like Christopher Columbus, dared to dream, hope, and discover, trusting in God, bringing their faith to a new land.
Thank you to all who support us as we “rebuild His church.”
I invite you all to continue to support our humble attempt to answer the request Jesus gave Saint Francis, Rebuild my church!
Let us pray:
Open wide the doors to God’s mercy.
Jesus says, “Here I stand knocking at the door!”
Lord, you are a God who opens doors, not closes them.
You are a God who opened to us the doors to life, and who longs to open for us the doors to heaven.
You are the God who desires that all pass through the doors into your household of faith…
Bless these restored doors, through the intercession of Mary, your mother, and the saints who adorn them – Saint Joseph, Saint Isaac Jogues, the North American Martyrs, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, Saint Patrick – so that all who enter them may be refreshed by your love, grace, and mercy,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!