Top of the First for Archbishop Dolan

Posted by Censor Librorum on Apr 21, 2009 | Categories: Bishops, Lesbians & Gays

On April 15, 2009 Archbishop Timothy Dolan became the 13th leader of the Catholic church in New York since the Vatican appointed the first bishop here in 1808. A vast territory, the archdiocese includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and seven northern counties, stretching from the border of the city to the Catskill Mountains.

This stretch of territory is the home of the toughest, crankiest, most argumentative and nit-picky  baseball fans in the country–Mets and  Yankees fans.   It’s a great place when you’re on the back page of the Daily News – it’s a tough town when you’ve blown the save. dolan

“You are what your record says you are,” said Bill Parcells, the revered former head coach of the New York Giants and Jets football teams and another Catholic sports guy.

There are a lot of Catholic players and piles of Catholic fans spread out among the different NY  teams. One of the reasons I’m back at church today is that I spotted  a man in a Mets jacket heading for the door of my neighborhood church. I followed him in. As  it turned out, that person happened to be the pastor, Fr. Danny.    Here was somebody, I thought, like me.  

Archbishop Dolan, 59,  appears to be a very genial, down-to-earth, outgoing kind of guy.  He likes to be with people.   He laughs and smiles a lot.    He’s a big baseball fan. He  has gone from rooting for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers to wind up at a NY Mets game at Citi Field  his first weekend in New York.  

One of his first stops as the new Archbishop of New York was the West Bronx Community Center in Highbridge. The teams of workers there give out free nutritious meals across the borough each year through a partnership between Catholic Charities and the Rusty Staub Foundation, a   “I’m happy, happy,” said a delighted Anna Rodriquez, 76, after she got to give the archbishop a big bear hug. “He is so friendly.”  

Rusty Staub, a former Mets baseball star, was on hand with the archbishop at the food pantry. Staub said he was honored that that Dolan chose to spend his first morning of face-to-face duties with the organization. “He obviously has a tremendous amount of energy,” Staub said, “I think that’s going to be a blessing.” “(I want) to learn, to listen, to shake hands, to meet people, to hear them dream,” Dolan said. “That’s a greater lesson than reading briefing reports, or reading histories.”

“I aim to be a happy bishop, sharing joys and laughs with you.   So you will see me at the St. Patrick’s parade, and at the new Yankee Stadium, and at processions and feast days and barbecues across our almost 400 parishes. Being Catholic is not a heavy burden, snuffing out the joy of life; rather our faith in Jesus and His Church gives meaning, purpose and a joy to life. I love being Catholic. I love being a priest, and I fully intend to love being archbishop of New York while loving all of you in the Church in New York.”

“Loving the Church here means supporting her indispensable work for caring for the poor, the immigrants, the sick and elderly, the lonely, the unborn and the abandoned. It means working hard for her Catholic schools, in many ways the pride of the archdiocese. It means ensuring that our parishes are places where people encounter the Lord Jesus in the Mass, the sacraments and in an authentically Catholic community.”

“It means speaking from America’s most famous pulpit for justice and peace, for religious liberty and the sanctity of all human life.   It means teaching the Catholic faith in season and out of season, as a good shepard must.”

Archbishop Dolan chose as his motto “Ad Quem Ibimus,” which means  “To Whom Shall We Go?”  

For Catholics who love their Church, this is the crux of the matter. When Jesus asked the disciples if they, too, would leave him, St. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of everlasting life.”  

Let’s start from there. Not polemics and threats about Communion.

One team.