A caravan of worshipers, including many local religious leaders, made the pilgrimage to Rome for the elevation of New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, along with 21 others, to Cardinal.
Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, director of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Office of Parish Giving and Vicar for Development, attended the February 18 ceremonies in Rome that saw Dolan named Cardinal — the second highest rank in the Catholic Church.
“It was a wonderful experience to be there in Rome, the center of Catholicism,” Gigantiello said of the trip. “In St. Peter’s Basilica, to be there to celebrate Mass with the Holy Father with almost 10,000 people, every time you walk in, it gives you goose bumps.”
On January 6, the Pope announced that Dolan was to be appointed to the College of Cardinals — the exclusive electors of 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 upon hearing of his elevation.
At the consistory, Pope Benedict XVI said, “The new cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for His Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters.”
As the Archbishop, Dolan is the spiritual leader of the more than 2 million Catholics in New York. Dolan was named archbishop in 2009.
The newly-minted Cardinal presided over his first public Mass on Sunday, February 26 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Gigantiello, who is also the pastor of Mary Queen of Heaven in Brooklyn, praised the youth and diversity on display in Rome during the ceremonies.
“To see cardinals from all around the world celebrating our faith is special,” he said. “It’s good to see the church alive like it is in Rome. There are so many young people taking part in all of the services. It’s very encouraging to see them taking part.”
Aside from enjoying the celebratory nature of the events, Gigantiello is pleased with the choice of Dolan, whom he believes can help the local church reconnect with the community.
“I think [Dolan] was an excellent choice. He is a leader, a theologian, but also has a great charismatic personality,” he said. “He’s approachable, people can relate to him and he can relate to people. He’s very inviting. I think this is what the church needs today.”