Posts Tagged ‘St. Patrick’s Cathedral’

Finding God Amid the Scaffolding and Noise

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Thought you would enjoy this wonderful piece on the Cathedral from Mary DeTurris Poust:

At first, as we walked along the outer edges of the cathedral, trying to avoid wires and boards and construction workers, I wondered aloud why they would even bother to keep the cathedral open under such conditions. But eventually we made our way to the Lady Chapel at the back of the cathedral, which remains untouched (at least as of now) by the restoration project. We knelt down in prayer, as other visitors did the same — the old lady with the scarf tied tightly around her head, a shopping bag on her arm; the young business man in the fashionably cut suit; the tourist with backpack and camera marking his outsider status. One by one, they drifted in and out, genuflecting, kneeling, praying, making the Sign of the Cross…

Read the rest here.

Rebuilding Our church So We Can Rebuild the Church

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Monday’s our feast day, everybody.

As a child, I grew up in a parish with a lot of Irish Americans, with a pastor whose folks came from Co. Tipperary, and wonderful Sisters of Mercy from Drogheda, Co. Louth, who taught us.

March 17 was a grand day, a holiday, with a “Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner” the Sunday before, the grade school girls trained by the sisters to dance the reels and sing the lyrics from Ireland.

But I noticed that the only ones actually from Ireland, the nuns, approached St. Patrick’s Day in a more reflective, somber, spiritual way.  It was clear to me that they looked at the feast as a holy day.

And, indeed, so should we!  For us in the Archdiocese of New York, St. Patrick’s Day is not just about beer, music, and marching in parades, but about celebrating the feast of a saint who is particularly close to us as patron of our diocese and cathedral.

For me, the heart of the day is our 8:30am Mass in the cathedral.  I have no say over the parade that follows, nor do I expect one.  (From the press, you’d think I was running it.  I don’t.) But, I have a lot to say about the Mass.  It’s SRO, spirited, reverent, prayerful.  It’s what March 17 is really all about.

That it takes place in the Cathedral that bears his name, built with the pennies of immigrants who survived with nothing but their religion, the genius of an archbishop from Co. Tyrone who wanted a “cathedral of suitable magnificence” as an icon thanking God for faith and freedom, and proclaiming to the city and the world that the Catholic Church was at home in America and here to stay in the nation’s major metropolis, makes this Mass all the more moving.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral belongs to us all – – Catholic or not, Irish or not – – and has been since 1878 the real “soul of the city.”

But, she now needs our help.  Her bricks are crumbling and falling; her roof is leaking; her stained-glass windows shaky; her walls tarnished with soot; her pews splintered; her heat and air no longer reliable; her organ cranky; her wiring frayed.  Get the picture?  We’re not talking luxury here, folks…we’re talking basic, raw repairSimply put, we have no choice: if we don’t do the repair, we’ll have to shut down, and it’s all costing us $180 million!

It’s costing me sleepless nights as I worry about raising money.  However, a lot of generous people, some of them not Catholics, have come forward, and we’re at about $65 million from philanthropic donations, not including what we have invested.

So, St. Patrick’s needs your help, and his feast day is a good time to ask.

We’re still consulting about the best way to approach our people for help.  As I’ve mentioned, our advance gifts are already close to$65 million, and the archdiocese itself has invested some of its funds in the project.  However, we do envision an eventual archdiocesan capital campaign to raise funds for our parishes, pastoral initiatives, and our beloved St. Patrick’s.

You’ve seen her: the Cathedral is under dramatic repair and renewal.  Then again, so are each of us; so is The Church!

Jesus spoke to St. Francis from the cross, “Rebuild my Church.”  Pope Francis is doing that, isn’t he?  Here in the archdiocese, we want to rebuild our church, (St. Patrick’s Cathedral), so we can rebuild The Church!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rebuild My Church

Monday, October 14th, 2013

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:

Ken Langone

Anthony and Christie DiNicola

Daniele Bodini

Sam and Melody DiPiazza

Patricia Dillon

Alice Sim

John Studzinski

Stephanie Whittier

Vicky McLoughlin

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

Andy Bast

Rolando Kraeher

Jeff Murphy

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

Maria Bartiromo

Grand Marshal and Mrs. Perella

Mr. and Mrs. Mattone

Ms. Pardo

Mr. and Mrs. Trennert

Mr. and Mrs. Freda

Louis Tallarini

Mary Young

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!

 

Mass For Kidnapped Syrian Bishops

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

This morning, I offered a special mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for Greek Orthodox Bishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Bishop John Ibrahim, who were recently kidnapped in Syria. Here is the audio of the opening remarks that I made. I would also like to share with you the audio clip of my homily.

 

Meditations on Corpus Christi from Ireland

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I am sorry that I will not be in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus Christi.  (The solemnity is actually today, June 7 – the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.  In the United States, we have moved the observance of the solemnity to the following Sunday, this year June 10.)  I’ve got a good excuse, though, for my absence.  You see, I am leading a group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of New York to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress that is being held this week in Dublin, Ireland.

About fifty of us from the archdiocese are here to join with hundreds of thousands of Catholics from all over the world in for prayer, adoration, study, and celebration of the Eucharist.

While in Ireland, we will visit other sites as well, like the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the Archdiocese of Armagh, the Primatial See of Ireland.  But the real purpose of our visit is to participate in the Eucharistic Congress and to be with the family of faith in our communal savoring of the Eucharist.

A Eucharistic Congress occurs every four years, and provides a wonderful occasion for the Church to ponder and deepen her belief in the mystery of our faith we call the Eucharistic. The last one was held in Quebec City, Canada in 2008., and the Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Marc Oullete, former Archbishop of Quebec and the current Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops as Papal Legate – that is, his official personal envoy – to this Eucharistic Congress. 

So, hundreds of bishops, thousands of priests, deacons, sisters, brothers, and seminarians, and tens of thousands of faithful women, men, and children from all over the Church universal, are gathering in Dublin for what promises to be a very spiritually uplifting occasion.

Our faith, of course, is internal.  “The kingdom of God is within you,” as Jesus Himself taught.  The essence of our faith is an interior, sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, and of all the truths He and His Church have revealed.  The soul is the arena of faith.

Yet, our faith is also external, because our internal acceptance of Christ has profound exterior effects.  An interior adhesion to Christ results in a conversion of heart which has significant social, communal effects.

Thus, as we internally profess our faith in the Eucharist, we are moved to manifest that externally.  Think about it:

– we genuflect as we enter Church as a sign that we adore Jesus really and truly present in the tabernac

– we say out loud, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” before approaching the altar, publicly indicating our sorrow for sin and desire to be cleansed, a desire that would result in sacramental confession when we are conscious of mortal sin;

– we bow before we receive our Lord at Holy Communion;

 – we say Amen, meaning, yes, when the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minster proclaims “The Body of Christ,” “The Blood of Christ”;

– we dress modestly, appropriately, for the Eucharist, giving a public sign that this is an event more sublime than playing tennis or lounging at the pool;

– on occasion, we publicly express our interior faith in the Eucharist through processions, Eucharistic exposition, and forty hour devotions;

– and, every four years, the Church universal sponsors a Eucharistic Congress as a corporate, ecclesial act of faith on behalf of the entire Church.

 We see so many signs of a revived appreciation for the Eucharist in the Church:

 – enhanced participation in the liturgy;

 – more opportunity for our sick and homebound to receive Holy Communion because of the generous apostolate of our Extraordinary ministers;

 – the growing popularity of Eucharistic adoration (in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, we have Eucharistic adoration about 5 ½ hours every day – about 10 hours on First Friday);

 – an increased awareness of the social demands inherent in the celebration of the Eucharist, acknowledging that the Eucharist has implications “beyond the walls” of our Church buildings;

 – a heightened sensitivity to the necessity of a worthy reception of Holy Communion; and that our partaking of the Eucharist indicates a communion not only with our Lord but with His Church.  Thus, we would not dare violate integrity by receiving the Eucharist if we are conscious of being separated from the unity of the Church by sin or dissent from clear Church teaching.

It was at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, 1976, that we first sang “You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat.

You are very much on my mind and in my prayers at the Eucharistic Congress as I praise God for the gift and mystery of the Blessed Eucharist!

St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Let me share with you a copy of Edwin Cardinal O’Brien’s homily from St. Patrick’s Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Here is an excerpt:

It was Archbishop John Hughes, Irish born, who to the consternation of many laid the cornerstone for this Cathedral on August 15, 1859. The City and the Nation were at that time in a deep financial depression: bank closures and unemployment were rampant. And the site he chose to build was well north of the then bustling heart of New York. His whole plan was called Hughes’ Folly, so unrealistic were the finances as well as in the timing and the choice of this very location.

Nevertheless, the dauntless Archbishop, with prophetic vision and typically Irish determination—what others might call stubbornness, insisted on the need, to erect quote “a Cathedral in the City of New York that may be worthy of our increasing numbers, intelligence and wealth as a religious community, and as a public architectural monument to the present and prospective greatness of this metropolis of the American continent.” This block on 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st St. – Hughes’ Folly?

With the interlude of the Civil War, it was not until 1879, twenty years later, that America’s first Cardinal, John Cardinal McCloskey, finally dedicated this, America’s Cathedral. And what a symbolic triumph it was for all Catholics of New York, largely immigrants, highly suspect and openly rejected by the New York elite of the day. For the Irish of New York it was especially meaningful. Transplanted from a small spot in the north Atlantic where they were forced to smuggle bread and wine and priests into hidden forests for hushed celebrations of the Eucharist on “Mass rocks”, they now had complete freedom to build their churches openly. They were now proud Americans and loyal Catholics. In complete obedience to Church teaching, they brought children into this world many of whom would become priests, nuns and brothers saturating our country’s urban centers and building the vast empire of Catholic educational and charitable institutions

You can read his whole homily here. An audio clip of the homily is available online, click here to listen.

Pro-Life Sunday

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Here is a copy of my homily from Pro-Life Sunday, Sunday, October 3, 2010, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. An audio clip of the homily is available online here.

AMDG                                                                                                              JMJ

27/OT/C/3/X/10
(Pro-Life)

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

The vision . . . God’s holy Word this Sunday morning, from the Prophet Habakkuk.

The vision . . . what is this vision?

From the beginning, our creator had this vision:  to share His life with us, His creatures, life now, life forever.

The vision of the sacredness of life, life now, life forever.

A reign of life, not destruction

A kingdom of life, not extinction

A culture of life, not death.

This vision our creator planted in the depth of every human person, as part of our normative law: that life is sacred; that, once God breathes it into us, it lasts forever; that to take innocent life is so inimical to a righteous society that its protection is mandated in the very middle of the ten commandments; that the more innocent and fragile the more it begs protection; that, indeed, to protect life is the most noble of vocations.

This vision, while enshrined in every great religious creed, whether Jewish, Catholic, Islamic, evangelical, Hindu, Buddhist . . . the list goes on . . . , is at its core not denominational or confessional at all, but human, basic, fundamental, rational, natural law, so much so that it was at the core of the enlightened founding fathers who fashioned on these shores a new “promised land” acknowledging from day one that human beings are endowed with certain basic inalienable rights, and that the first of these is . . . guess what? . . . life.

The sacredness of life, life now, life forever.

The vision is threatened, dulled, eclipsed . . . Habakkuk uses vocabulary such as “violence . . . ruin . . . misery . . . destruction . . . strife . . . discord.”

We today add words such as “war . . . terrorism . . . abortion . . . euthanasia . . . trafficking . . . experimentation on living organisms . . .” and are at times tempted to shout out with the prophet, “How long, O Lord?  I cry for help, but you do not listen!”

And the one who implanted that vision within His creatures soothes,

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

This is the vision that inspired a Francis (whose feast we celebrate tomorrow) to genuflect before a pregnant woman; a Peter Claver to climb onto slave ships to pour clean water in to the parched throats of African captives; a Bartholomew de las Casas to challenge a system that abused and violated native rights; a Teresa of Calcutta to bathe maggots from the face of a dying beggar in a gutter; a Marine sergeant to jump on a live grenade in a foxhole to preserve the lives of his platoon; a Gianna Molla to carry the baby in her womb all the way to birth even though she knew it would mean her own death . . .

This is the vision that inspires today’s premier civil rights cause, the pro-life movement, renewing our nation, world, culture, and Church.

We may legitimately ask, with Habakkuk, “when . . . how long . . . how much longer will the distortion of death seem to trump the vision of life? . . .” but we never ask if . . . for, fellow dreamers, we hold this truth to be self-evident.

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

A Blessed Christmas to All

Friday, December 25th, 2009

What a joy it has been to celebrate my first Christmas as Archbishop of New York.

Here is a copy of my homily from Midnight Mass. An audio clip of the homily is now online here.

A blessed Christmas to all!