Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"At Home" in New York: "The Happy Bishop"

A Good Installation Morning to one and all.

We may only be just approaching the more prominent of the rites welcoming the tenth archbishop to this "capital of the world." Yet even so, the Gotham papers have already gone full-out wild with glee.

As this morning's Times reservedly recounts Tim Dolan's "grand entrance" (and the hammer he used to make it) at last night's Vespers, the Post -- whose front page on the morning after the appointment famously screamed "GODSEND!" -- echoes it today, blaring "HEAVEN SENT" on its cover and "KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR" inside, while the Daily News' lede hails "THE HAPPY BISHOP"... a line taken from a column in today's edition written by the man, himself:
The Archdiocese of New York has been welcoming people from near and far, from across our country and from around the world, for more than 200 years. If there is any place that knows how to make a newcomer feel at home, it's New York. So I thank you for your warm welcome. But I need more than just your good wishes and wise counsel. I need your prayers.

Let's be frank - being archbishop of New York is a difficult job, a blessing and a burden, and far more worthy men have gone before me. So I ask all New Yorkers - Catholics and otherwise - to pray for me, asking God to give me the wisdom and courage I need to be a faithful archbishop. I ask my new Jewish neighbors to pray for me as Passover draws to a close. Catholics have a special responsibility, and I want to make a particular request of all Catholic families and Catholic schools: Please ask your children to say a Hail Mary for me. The prayers of children are powerful indeed, and I need them.

People come to New York for many reasons - it is a world center of culture and commerce, a meeting place and a melting pot. I come here with the same mission I had in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Rome, Washington and all the places where I have served as a priest these last 33 years. My task is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to encourage all those who will listen to set out on the high adventure of Christian discipleship.
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 the joy out of life; rather our faith in Jesus and His Church gives meaning, purpose and joy to life. I love being a 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 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 inviting more young men to become priests and women to become sisters.

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 shepherd must.

Pope John Paul II used to speak of my predecessors as the archbishops "of the capital of the world." There is a universal dimension to the Archdiocese of New York. That means that it is truly Catholic - for "catholic" means universal. We have a universal mission - the same mission the archdiocese has lived for two centuries: To proclaim Jesus Christ to a city, a diocese, a country and a world in need of His saving love.

My mission is to remind New Yorkers that they must welcome God to this "capital of the world" as warmly as they have welcomed so many others.

That's what a boy from Ballwin will be doing in the Big Apple.

Thanks for taking me in! God bless you.
* * *
Lest anyone's unaware, we've never seen an arrival as rapturous as this before.


For the many of us to whom Dolan's anything but a stranger, this comes as no surprise.

And to think, it's only just beginning... indeed, canonically speaking, it hasn't even begun yet.

That, of course, comes a little after 2 this afternoon -- don't forget your worship aid and webstreams.

With Gov. David Patterson -- the nation's most-prominent African-American Catholic -- expected to introduce a bill permitting same-sex marriage in New York state as early as tomorrow, today's 10am press conference might just be even more interesting than it would've been before.

As always, more after it happens. In the meantime, though, fullvideo of last night's Vespers has been posted for on-demand viewing, courtesy of the great folks at Boston's CatholicTV.

PHOTOS: Getty(1,2); Reuters(3)