Monday, February 23, 2009

Return of the Rector

At the close of a historic Appointment Day tour that began with two archbishops of New York praying in the cathedral crypt where their predecessors are buried, New York's new arrival was whisked to Yonkers and the hotspot of his new charge where he'll probably find himself most at home: St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie.

Just before Tim Dolan sat in for Vespers, however, he stopped to take a congratulatory call from that other recently-elect Midwesterner: the President of the United States.

From the Westchester Journal-News' Gary Stern's crib notes on the 452-elect's first suburban jaunt:
When Dolan entered the [seminary's] main lobby and received a long ovation from seminarians, faculty and guests, he looked like he had just walked into a surprise party—grinning ear to ear. I mean, this was after a full day of meetings and congratulatory phone calls.

Speaking of which, Dolan said that he got a phone call from President Obama just before leaving NYC for Yonkers. “I said ‘Thank you, Mr. President. I need those prayers.’ He said, ‘I need your prayers, too.’ ” He also got calls from [NYC Mayor] Mike Bloomberg, Gov. Paterson and others....

During vespers, [Cardinal Edward] Egan expanded on his role in Dolan’s rise. Egan explained that when he was chairman of the North American College, he sought out the best possible rector. He heard about Dolan and went to St. Louis to recruit him.

In the lobby, Egan and Dolan talked about the pressing need for more seminarians. Egan suggested that each current seminarian recruit four more. Dolan responded: “If you get more than four, I’ll ordain you early.” More applause….

The choir loft at the seminary was filled with more than two dozen reporters and cameramen. Several reporters were doing live reports for their 5 p.m. broadcasts while the service was going on. Not too much interruption, though.

Addressing the seminarians, Dolan said that after a long, packed day of excitement, the one thing that stood out from the rest was…Mass. “That is the most important thing that I ever do,” he said.

Tomorrow, Dolan may take part in a Milwaukee tradition for “Fat Tuesday:” eating jelly rolls made of fat and grease. He hopes his doctor won’t object.
PHOTOS: AP/Mary Altaffer(1); Westchester Journal-News(2)