Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

4/15/2009 (5 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 (5 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.”

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

World population could hit 11 billion by 2100 new study reveals Watch

Image of Africa will see the largest population boom, going from 1 billion to 4 billion by the century's end. Asia will also likely rise a bit, but will peak at 5 billion by 2050 and decline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations-led analysis published on September 18 has revealed that the world's population may reach 11 billion by 2100, which would mean two billion more people than previously expected, largely due to high birth rates in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter