Standing at the altar of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church before a life-size statue of Jesus crucified on the cross, His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan celebrated his final mass with Catholic Charities staff and coworkers before leaving later today for Rome. Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and 11 fellow concelebrants assisted with the celebration of the Eucharist.
The mass provided the Cardinal with a final time of prayer with members of the Archdiocese of New York before Pope Benedict XVI steps down from the papacy on Thursday. Cardinal Dolan will participate in the conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals to choose the Pope’s successor.
“What a source of consolation it is to be with all of you, people I love very much, people whose work I admire so completely, today before I leave for Rome,” Cardinal Dolan told the hundreds of staff members that packed the church at the Catholic Center on First Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan.
His sermon combined his well-known wit with gratitude and guidance. Garbed in a magenta robe, the Cardinal joked about his concerns about the “break-a-leg” good wishes he received. He explained the logistics of his upcoming trip. And he called for contrition, repentance, and renewal.
He hopes, he said, to return to New York before the end of March in time for Holy Week.
“To know that you’re going to be with me means a great deal,” he said, “so keep me in your prayers.”