Posts Tagged ‘Vatican’

A Blessed Holy Week!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Obviously, our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, hadn’t been listening to the news.

If he had, he would have heard about the major “problems” facing the Church, and would have announced “changes” in the Church’s “policies” on abortion, birth control, celibacy for priests, condoms, women priests, and allowing divorce and remarriage.

Instead, when he came to his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square his first Sunday as Successor of St. Peter, to speak and pray with the 100,000 people below, he didn’t mention any of those issues at all.

Poor man is already “out of it!”

Instead, he spoke of God’s mercy. “God never gets tired of forgiving us,” he observed.

Mercy is one of the richest, most profound teachings of the Bible.

Two facts: one, we sin a lot; two, God forgives us once we tell Him we’re sorry.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!”

God’s mercy is not just some fuzzy, vague idea. It is personally experienced in the Sacrament of Penance, as we admit our sins, confess them, ask God’s mercy, and receive it!

Today is Reconciliation Monday. In all our parishes, priests will be hearing confessions from 3-9 PM.

No better way to begin Holy Week and get ready for Easter, than by a good confession.

God’s mercy! It’s ours for the asking!

Listen to the Bible!

Listen to Jesus!

Listen to Pope Francis!

See you all in the confessional line. A blessed Holy Week!

Statement on the Election of Our Holy Father, Pope Francis

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

On this joyous day, I issued a statement in my role as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the election of our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Here is the press release:



The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis, marks a great milestone in our church. As successor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside.

The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him.Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis.

The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.With joy in our hearts, we declare “Ad Multos Annos!” (For many years!)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Electing a New Bishop of Rome

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

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

One last word early this “morning” as I pack to leave the North American College, where we cardinals have been staying, and go into the Vatican itself, where we’ll be hosted at St. Martha’s House, a simple little residence.  At 10 AM we’ll concelebrate the traditional Mass for the Election of the Pontiff in St. Peter’s Basilica, and then return to Saint Martha’s for seclusion.  The first voting will occur in the Sistine Chapel this afternoon, and continue the following days.

I hope the conclave will not go on too long. All I know is that I’m just taking in a small “carry-on” piece of baggage.  If we’re in there too long, and if they show photographs of St. Martha’s from outside Vatican City, my room will be the one with the laundry hanging in the window to dry!

The veteran cardinals tell me that the conclave is almost like a retreat.  We of course concelebrate Mass every morning to begin the day, and pray the liturgy of the hours together.  Obviously, we can visit and talk with each other at St. Martha’s House during our meals and brief time off between the actual voting, but, I’m told the actual hours in the Sistine Chapel, carried out scrupulously according to the traditional protocol, are done in an atmosphere of silence and prayer; it’s almost, the old-timers tell me, like a liturgy.

These last twelve days have been immensely enlightening for me, as I get to know my brother cardinals better.  The atmosphere is one of prayer, trust, calm joy, and confidence, with very candid conversations about issues of pastoral urgency, and challenges facing the Church Universal and the next Holy Father.

One cardinal observed, after hearing others list the qualifications our new Pope would need, that, “It seems we have to elect Christ, not a Vicar of Christ!”

Yes, we expect a lot from the Successor of St. Peter, and it would be impossible to find the perfect one.  Yet, we expect a lot from our bishops, priests, deacons, and religious women and men; then again, we expect a lot from our spouses, our parents, our teachers, our political leaders, and our law officers.

Jesus calls us “to be perfect;” that’s sobering and can discourage us; but — — here’s the reassurance — — He also helps us with His grace, and never fails in His mercy when we fail.

I guess that’s what I’m asking you as I pack up to enter the conclave: ask the Lord to send His grace and His mercy upon His Holy Church, and upon us cardinals who have the frightening task of electing a new Bishop of Rome!

Watch for the white smoke!  I’ll try to be in touch as soon as I can after the conclave ends.  I’ll stay for the “Mass of Inauguration” for the new Holy Father, but hope to be home, back with you, my spiritual family, before Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday.