New York’s Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, has received the call to a higher service after recently being appointed Cardinal — the second highest rank in the Catholic Church — by the Pope.
“I am honored, humbled and grateful, but, let’s be frank: this is not about Timothy Dolan; this is an honor from the Holy Father to the Archdiocese of New York, and to all our cherished friends and neighbors who call this great community home,” said Dolan, who was among the 22 new Cardinals — the exclusive electors of the Pope — announced by Pope Benedict XVI on Friday, January 6.
He will officially be appointed in Rome on February 18.
“This is wonderful news for the Cardinal-designate and for the entire community of faith that he serves so well,” Cardinal Edward Egan said in a statement.
As the Archbishop, Dolan is the spiritual leader of the more than 2 million Catholics in New York. Dolan was named archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, following the resignation of Egan.
The Missouri native was born in 1950, the oldest of five children. Ordained to the priesthood in 1976, Dolan served in his home state, Washington, D.C., Rome and Milwaukee before being named Archbishop of New York.
Queens religious leaders believe Dolan is ready for this calling.
“[Dolan] seems to be somewhat comfortable in the media, which is important,” said Father Gerald Fitzsimmons, pastor of St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven. “He has a role to play not just in New York but for the entire country.”
Father Alfred LoPinto, pastor of St. Helen’s, described Dolan as “warm and personable, outgoing and extremely intelligent, a people’s person and an outstanding church scholar.”
“We’re all going to be praying for him,” Fitzsimmons said, who added he believes Dolan will do well in his new role.
After learning of the news of being elevated to cardinal, Dolan recalled a quote from another Catholic chosen for higher office. John F. Kennedy replied to someone who congratulated him on the honor of the presidency: “Thanks, but I don’t look at it so much as an honor as a call to higher service.”
“My sentiments exactly,” Dolan said. “This is not about privilege, change of colors, hats, new clothes, places of honor or a different title. No, this is about an affirmation of love from the pope to a celebrated archdiocese and community, and a summons to its unworthy archbishop to serve Jesus, his Church universal, his vicar on earth and his people better.”
— Additional reporting by Alexa Altman