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Follow that Cardinal! Dolan's Message at Time Top 100 Banquet Shows Us How to Evangelize

By Deacon Keith Fournier
May 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

He is willing to contend with those who are hostile toward the Church, but always does so with velvet gloves and a heart filled with the desire to introduce them to the Lord and insert them, through the waters of Baptism, into the Body of Christ - as his brothers and sisters! He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them over with the Love of God.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - On April 24, 2012, Time Magazine hosted its annual gala event where it honored the "Top 100 most influential people of 2012." The list is comprised of people whom the news source decides had the greatest impact on American society in the past year.  One of the factors which go into the final choice is the results of a poll of public sentiment.

Readers of Catholic Online know of my admiration for the Cardinal from New York. He loves the Lord and the Catholic Church he serves with an infectious enthusiasm borne of a sincere, living Christian faith. He is comfortable in his own skin, at ease with the use of the media, filled with the Holy Spirit, and eager to share the Gospel which is found in its fullness within the heart of the Catholic Church.

No matter where an attack or a challenge comes from against the Church, this gutsy but gregarious Bishop goes out to greet them and does not back down. He is fearless. He is precisely who we need at the helm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in this critical hour. He does more than defend the Church, he proclaims with confidence that she bears the saving message the whole world needs to hear. He extends an invitation to everyone to find their home in the Church which is meant to become the home of the whole human race. 

He is willing to contend with those who are hostile toward the Church, but always does so with velvet gloves and a heart filled with the desire to introduce them to the Lord and insert them, through the waters of Baptism, into the Body of Christ - as his brothers and sisters! He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them over with the Love of God, often making them friends. That is because he is, in his heart, a bearer of the Good News which he knows the whole world truly to hear.

When Archbishop Dolan was elected to the Presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops I called it an historic turn of events and a sign of the Lord's continued guidance of the Church in the United States. I wrote in an article "Truly, God has not forgotten His people in the Church in the United States. This is a day for rejoicing!" I also said then - and repeat it now - the United States of America has become mission territory. The Catholic Church in the United States is in need of the "New Evangelization" and Cardinal Dolan is one of its greatest apostles and instructors.

This happy Cardinal of the Catholic Church is a wonderful instrument of the New Evangelization, a trumpet in the hands of the Lord. He is a dynamic and inspiring communicator and solid teacher of the truths as taught by the Magisterium of the Church. He is a true leader, both naturally and supernaturally. People are drawn to him because they are drawn to the One who is alive within Him, and ministers through him, Jesus the Risen Lord. 

Upon accepting the award from Time, he showed us how to walk into the midst of the culture without any fear, filled with the joy that comes from living faith, and evangelize. We need to follow this Cardinal, no matter what our state in life, and learn how to share the Good News in this urgent hour. That is our mission.

Below, we offer an excerpt taken from the Cardinal's remarks delivered at the Time Banquet. The complete text can be found in an article entitled "Jesus, the Holy Name behind the Church" which was written for the Catholic New York:

"Last week, I was asked to toast the most influential person in my life. The glamorous occasion was a glittering banquet for those chosen by Time magazine as "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." Can I share my toast with you?

"Good evening, everybody. It sure is a joy and an honor to be here with you, such distinguished and gracious company.

When the extraordinarily gracious folks from Time magazine came to visit with me in preparation for this happy occasion, one of them asked who I would consider the most influential person in my life. 'That's a no-brainer,' I replied. 'Jesus Christ is the most influential person in my life.'
The kind journalist clarified: 'I'm sorry, I should have been more precise: the person has to be alive now.'

'Same answer!' I came back. 'Jesus Christ!'

Jesus Christ is alive; that's the significance of the feast we celebrated two weeks ago, on the Sunday called Easter.

'Why do you look for the living among the dead?' the angel asked those faithful women at the empty tomb down the slope from a hill called Calvary where He had been executed three days prior on a Friday strangely termed Good.

Colleagues, neighbors and friends: thanks for letting me toast this most influential person, confident as I am that many of you share my sentiments.

I admit He is a person of bewildering paradox:
true God, yet true man;
God's son, yet born in a stable;
architect of the world, without a home of His own;

creator of the world's resources, yet Himself possessing only the seamless garment He wore to the cross for which His executioners cast lots;
a king whose throne was a cross, whose crown was of thorns;

coming to bring mercy, but Himself condemned to death;
dead at a mere 33, yet alive forever;
a man of peace, whose followers have tragically waged violence in His Holy Name;
a man of love whose heart is broken by the sin, hatred, and division in the members of the Church He founded, even in its leaders, including me.

Yet, He never gives up on us, asking only our love, faith, and trust;
I toast Him as my Lord and Savior;
I toast Him as my best friend;

I believe He's here with us this evening, He who invites each of us to enjoy with Him a future banquet of eternal life in heaven.

And I toast all of you influential people for your patience in letting me toast Jesus Christ, the most influential person in my life."

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