Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

4/15/2009 (7 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

On Wednesday, The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan will be officially installed as the 10th Archbishop for the See of New York. The complete text of his Vespers homily is included in our article.

Dear people of God, faithful Catholics of this archdiocese, you indeed are the “living stones” spoken of by Peter this evening, who give a smile, a voice, an embrace, a heart to the mystical body of Christ we call the Church, as you love faithfully in marriage, obey the “law of the gift” by caring for your children, who take the identity of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation so seriously, and who never fail to open up to the Jesus who stands and knocks at the doors of your homes, parishes, schools, offices, farms, factories, and professions. Thank you for your vocations, for sensing the universal call to holiness.

Dear people of God, faithful Catholics of this archdiocese, you indeed are the “living stones” spoken of by Peter this evening, who give a smile, a voice, an embrace, a heart to the mystical body of Christ we call the Church, as you love faithfully in marriage, obey the “law of the gift” by caring for your children, who take the identity of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation so seriously, and who never fail to open up to the Jesus who stands and knocks at the doors of your homes, parishes, schools, offices, farms, factories, and professions. Thank you for your vocations, for sensing the universal call to holiness.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/15/2009 (7 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Archbishop Timothy Dolan knocked on the doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral at 6:57pm, the traditional beginning for the reception of a new bishop.

Upon entering the Cathedral, the new Archbishop was met by his predecessor, Edward Cardinal Egan, and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Pope Benedict XVI's representative. Processing down the aisle, he sprinkled the people gathered with holy water.

Cardinal Egan addressed the crowd by saying, "This is a joyful occasion, as we receive our new archbishop and we assure him of our prayers, our support and our love." He addressed the new bishop in a joking manner, saying, "Allow me to assure you, that's the last time you're going to have to knock twice to get into St. Pat's."

As the official Vatican representative, Archbishop Sambi read the Pope's official letter of appointment. The letter was then shown to diocesan officials as a part of the ceremony confirming the appointment.

Archbishop Dolan preached his first sermon to his new flock as a part of the evening vespers service. The complete text of his homily is printed below.

The Tuesday evening vespers service served as an initial welcome to the new prelate, with Archbishop Dolan's official installation taking place on Wednesday at an afternoon Mass.

Archbishop Dolan's Vespers Homily:

Thank you, everybody, for opening the door and letting me in when I knocked! It sure is good to be at home with all of you!

As I look out with heartfelt affection and appreciation at you good people who just opened the door and let me in, I embrace eminent cardinals -- especially my esteemed predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan -- brother bishops, Archbishop Sambi and Archbishop Migliore, brother priests, deacons, and seminarians, women and men consecrated religious, representatives of every vicariate in this expansive archdiocese, parish leaders, respected civic and ecumenical partners, dear Mom, family, loyal friends from St. Louis, D.C., Kansas City, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Rome, Ireland, Australia -- brothers and sisters all:

Thanks for opening the door wide enough even for me to get in.

Thanks for welcoming me so warmly as your new pastor!

Thanks for already making me feel at home!

Thanks for letting me into your lives!

I am so glad you are here! And it sure beats sitting at home doing our last-minute tax returns, doesn't it?

You realize the statement we are making this evening. As I begin my apostolic ministry as your new shepherd, there is nothing more effective, more appropriate, more powerful that we can do than pray, pray as the Church. Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly exhorts us that every project, every initiative, should begin with adoration -- praising the God without whom we can do nothing, with whom everything is possible, humbly placing our dreams, fears, hopes, and trust in His omnipotent hands. That we do this evening.

A special word of greeting to our Jewish friends, now concluding Passover, and, un abrazo especial a nuestra querida comunidad Latina por ser obsequio y promesa para esta arquidiócesis.

Thanks, most of all, everyone, for opening the doors of your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ!

He it is, of course, who stands at the portal of every soul and gently knocks. Life's most pivotal question then becomes whether we will open the door of our existence and let Him in, to receive incomparable light, love, mercy, and friendship, or whether we will remain closed-up in darkness, self-absorption, sin, and isolation.

So did St. Peter in God's Word this evening prayer exhort us to "Come to the Lord!"

So did St. Peter's successor, John Paul the Great, inspire the world when he challenged us, at his first Mass as Pope, to "open wide the doors to Christ."

So did Pope Benedict XVI, in his inaugural Mass, invite us to "open-up in friendship with Jesus."

One of my favorite illustrations of Jesus is the familiar one of Him standing outside the door of a simple home, gently knocking. In second grade at Holy Infant School in Ballwin, Missouri, my teacher, Sister Mary Bosco Daly, who this evening, fresh from Ireland, just read our scripture passage from St. Peter, asked us to look closely at that picture and see if we noticed anything strange. "Yes," Carolyn Carey finally raised her hand and blurted out, "there is no door knob!"

"Right," observed Sister Bosco, "because Jesus cannot open up and barge in on His own. He patiently waits for us to open the door of our hearts and invite Him in to stay with us."

That lesson alone, Mom, was worth all the sacrifices you and Dad made to send us five kids to Catholic school.

Because that's the ultimate question, in the end the only one that really counts: will we open up in faith, hope, and love to the God who gently knocks on the door to our being, asking Him in to live with us? Or will fear, self-absorption, and darkness keep us locked up in ourselves?

The Church is at her best, faithful to her mission, when she invites people to open the door and ask Jesus in. That's precisely the invitation this Archdiocese of New York extends; that's the proposal the Church makes to the world. As Bernini explained the massive colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square, "Those are the arms of Mother Church reaching out to embrace all people!"

This is the "theology of invitation" articulated by the servant of God, John Paul II.

God invites us . . . never coerces . . . God invites us to believe in Him, trust Him, accept Him. God invites us to let Him be the Lord of our life; and when we do, our lives are never the same; our lives will last forever!

Jesus, His son, is the invitation incarnate, as He invites us to a life of meaning, purpose, life to the fullest, life never-ending. To allow Him in is genuine freedom, the start of an adventure in fidelity. Living in the true liberty of Christ is not easy. It requires fidelity and heroic virtue. In our celebration days ago of Holy Week and Easter, we reverently recalled God's liberation of the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt -- which our Jewish neighbors are now celebrating as Passover concludes -- and remembered how, during the Exodus, God gave us the gift of the Ten Commandments, lest this newly freed people would lapse back to the habits of slaves. When the Church proclaims the moral truth about the dignity of the human person, she helps us all live free.

Sadly, we have usually tragically said no to God's invitation, most dramatically at the event we somberly recalled five days ago, Good Friday.

But we have a God who will not take no for an answer, as Easter demonstrates definitively.

And now Christ stands at the door and knocks, and the Church nudges us to open up and invite Him in!

But, you know all this, because this venerable Church of New York has been doing it for 201 years!

My brother priests, you are the ones who "open the door to the sacred" through Word and Sacraments. You do it so faithfully and so generously! I am so proud to call you "brothers"; I am so awestruck to be the elder brother of a presbyterate known for its zeal and devotion. I thank you, brother priests, for continuing to be agents of the divine invitation, and to you I pledge my life and love!

Consecrated women, vowed religious sisters, brothers, priests, for centuries you have opened the door to Christ identified with the sick, the immigrant, the troubled, the forgotten, and to millions of our children in our splendid schools, and who have loyally prayed without ceasing with and for the Church, this archdiocese owes you so very much. Please, keep opening the door to Jesus;

Our deacons, their loyal spouses, our devoted lay pastoral collaborators, please keep showing by your lives of service and joy that letting this Jesus in the door is a choice one never regrets;

Dear people of God, faithful Catholics of this archdiocese, you indeed are the "living stones" spoken of by Peter this evening, who give a smile, a voice, an embrace, a heart to the mystical body of Christ we call the Church, as you love faithfully in marriage, obey the "law of the gift" by caring for your children, who take the identity of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation so seriously, and who never fail to open up to the Jesus who stands and knocks at the doors of your homes, parishes, schools, offices, farms, factories, and professions. Thank you for your vocations, for sensing the universal call to holiness.

Realistically, though, we must confess that there's so much lurking there to keep us from "opening the door" to Jesus!

There's sin, fear, and sadness to keep us closed-up inside, evident in so many problems and worries: 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 fragile human life at all stages; the need for vocations. The list is long and haunting.

There's so much inside me, I don't mind admitting, that was scared to open the door completely to Him, as I kept the chain-on, opened up just a crack, and heard Him invite me to serve Him and His Church as Archbishop of New York! I inwardly replied to Him:

"Go away, Lord! I'm not your man! My Spanish is lousy and my English not much better!"

"I'm still angry at New York for taking Favre and Sabbathia from us in Wisconsin!"

"The Yankees and Mets over the Cardinals and Brewers? Forget it!"

"Following the likes of Hughes, Hayes, Spellman, Cooke, O'Connor, and Egan! Sounds like McNamara's band, and I'm not up to being part of it!"

Trepidation; unworthiness; anxiety; leave me to the beloved brats, beers, and cool summer lake breezes of Milwaukee where I'm secure and at home . . .

Yet He had his sandal in the door and would not let me shut Him out, as I heard the whisper of the One who says,

"Timothy, be not afraid!"

"My grace is sufficient..."

"Never do I invite one to a task without giving him/her the strength to do it!"

"I am with you all days."

"Open up and let me in. . . "

I recalled the words John Paul II spoke down the street at the United Nations: "We must not be afraid of the future. It is no accident that we are here. Every human person has been created in the image and likeness of the One who is the origin of all that is. We have within us the capacity for wisdom and heroic virtue. With these gifts, and with the help of God's grace, we can build . . . a civilization worthy of the human person, a true culture of freedom, a culture of life. "

And this evening, when you opened those bronze doors to my knock, and I beheld a Church, an archdiocese, that has been opening the doors to Christ for 201 years, am I ever glad I listened to Him and took the chain off!

It is so great to be with you. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

'I could have been arrested...' - Nebraska law forcing nuns to remove habits in schools sparks controversy Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear habits in Nebraska schools.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Sister Madeleine Miller's efforts to substitute teach in a Nebraska public school ran afoul of a century-old law that left her bewildered - and prompted the state legislature to take another look at the law's dark past. Lincoln, NE (CNA/EWTN News) - "I was just ... continue reading


Meth cook and devil worshiper attacks mother then leaves her for dead with demon king's name written on her chest Watch

Image of Chase Wall attacked his mother and left her for dead with a demon king's name scrawled across her chest.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Chase Wall, a 33-year-old occult-obsessed meth addict, was arrested after beating his mother, stealing her car and leaving her for dead with a demon's name inscribed on her bloody chest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Wall's 66-year-old mother was discovered in a ... continue reading


Amazing discovery in Canada reveals one man's controversial claim was TRUE Watch

Image of Evidence of stone tools used on a horse's jaw means humans arrived in North America thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers at the Université of Montréal (UdeM) in Canada made an important discovery this year, changing a key element of North American history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - New research suggests humans first traveled to North America 24,000 ... continue reading


When one Bible isn't enough, use two! Trump to take oath with TWO Holy Bibles Watch

Image of Donald Trump will be sworn into office using two Bibles.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 19. At that time, he will have not one but two Bibles - one of which will be pulled from the Library of Congress collection to commemorate the special event. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Donald Trump will be ... continue reading


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Pro-Life Christian Leader and Hero Watch

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Christian Leader

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On January 27, 2017, the annual March for Life will take place once again in Washington, DC. On January 16th we commemorate a great Christian and Human Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated in 1968 for defending the fundamental truth of ... continue reading


Pope Francis cited in one bishop's call for change - Will it help? Watch

Image of Pope Francis has been calling for help on behalf of immigrants for years.

By Kevin Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump has raised questions about the future of immigration reform, but the nation's Catholic bishops remain hopeful. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "We also find it important that we engage the present incoming ... continue reading


'The Greatest Show on Earth' to pack up for the last time after 146 years Watch

Image of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus will close after 146 years (Todd Hesler).

By Nikki Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus announced they would be closing up shop for the final time this May after 146 years of bringing magic to families across the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & ... continue reading


Christianity on the decline under Obama, pop media, and atheist persecution Watch

Image of A church is burned in full-scale effigy at the Burning Man festival, an expression of pop culture.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Atheism and agnosticism gained a boost during Obama's presidency as the number of people claiming no religious affiliation rose during his administration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Pew Research Center has released a report which states, "When it comes ... continue reading


Catholic hospital under fire for practicing religious freedoms Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital may be forced to compromise its religious rights.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

A Catholic hospital faces an anti-discrimination lawsuit for cancelling a surgery to remove a uterus from a female who identifies as a man. The surgery was meant to treat gender dysphoria. Paterson, NJ (CNA/EWTN News) - "This case involves whether a Catholic hospital ... continue reading


Why does the Catholic University of America have a collection of over 600 Ethiopian magic scrolls? Watch

Image of Hundreds of Ethiopian religious scrolls now reside in Washington D.C.

By Adelaide Mena (CNA/EWTN News)

With a recent gift of more than 600 handmade leather manuscripts, the Catholic University of America is now home to one of the most important collections of Ethiopian religious manuscripts in the United States. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - The collection includes ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 8:23--9:3
23 For is not everything dark as night for a country in distress? As the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14
1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:12-23
12 Hearing that John had been arrested he withdrew to ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
10 Brothers, I urge you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, not to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 22nd, 2017 Image

St. Vincent Pallotti
January 22: St. Vincent Pallotti, Priest (Feast - January 22) ... Read More