Dolan Installed As New York's 10th Archbishop

Capital News 9
April 15, 2009

[with video]

NEW YORK — Catholics from across New York City and the surrounding areas gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral Wednesday afternoon for the official installation of their new leader, Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Dolan, 59, was installed just after 2:30 p.m. with the stamping of a letter written by Pope Benedict XVI.

The ceremony began at around 1:30 p.m. as a procession of cardinals, bishops, and priests made its way through the main doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral. During this cavalcade, Dolan stood outside the church on 51st Street, greeting both the religious officials and passerbys.

A Mass followed, which included a homily from Archbishop Dolan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson, former Mayor Ed Koch, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, District Attorney Richard Brown, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the city police and fire commissioners were among the officials attending the ticketed event.

Dolan takes over for Edward Cardinal Egan, who was forced to retire last year at the age of 77, as the leader of 2.5 million Catholics in the counties of the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.

Some parishioners attending early-morning Masses at St. Patrick's Cathedral said they are very hopeful about the incoming archbishop.

"He just seems to have an infectious smile, a happy way about him and I think it's going to be uplifting to a lot of people in the city," said one churchgoer. "Not only Catholics who come here to see him, but I think the whole city is really going to enjoy him."

"He has to bring the Catholics back to the church. I think that's a really important part of his job," said another.

"He's not coming into the church at an easy time," said a third. "But we wish him the best and we're stepping in to pray for him."

The installation rites began Tuesday night with Solemn Vespers and the incoming archbishop knocking on the doors of the cathedral. Dolan was welcomed inside by 77-year-old Edward Cardinal Egan.

It's the first time in the history of the New York Archdiocese that this ritual has taken place, because all the previous occupants have died in office. Egan was forced to retire last year because of his age.

In Dolan's first homily before his congregation, he stressed belief in the Catholic faith amid some of the challenges the church faces.

"There's sin and fear and sadness to keep us up closed up inside, evident in so many problems and worries," he said. "The scandal of clergy sexual abuse and caring for those hurt. The challenges of strengthening our parishes, schools and charitable outreach. The threats to marriage, family, to the unborn baby and the fragile the human life in all ages. The need for vocations. The list is long. The list is haunting."

Earlier this week, Dolan reintroduced himself to the New York media and welcomed his family to dinner at his new Midtown residence.

Dolan served as the leader of the Milwaukee Archdiocese for nearly eight years.


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