The archbishop of New York classified the cardinals' meetings as being "back in that Upper Room with Our Lady and the apostles, and the challenges we – and the new Saint Peter – will face are, surprisingly, similar to those the first Pope, Saint Peter, confronted that first Pentecost: how most effectively to present the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus to a world that, while searching for salvation and eternal truth, are also at times doubting, skeptical, too busy, or frustrated."
Cardinal Dolan suggested readers might be "astonished" to hear that "we spend most of our times discussing issues such as preaching; teaching the faith; celebrating the seven sacraments; inviting back those believers who have left; serving the sick and poor, the 'least of these;' sustaining our splendid schools, hospitals, and agencies of charity; encouraging our brother priests, bishops, deacons, and consecrated women and men religious; supporting our pastors – and getting more of them! – and our parishes; forming future priests well; loving our married couples and our families, and defending the dignity of marriage; protecting life where it is most in danger because of war, poverty, or abortion; and reinforcing the universal call to holiness given all in the Church."
"Those," he said, "are the 'big issues.' You may find that hard to believe, since the 'word on the street' is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money. Do these topics come up? Yes! Do they dominate? No!"
In a post from Wednesday, Cardinal Dolan said that he would be beginning a novena to St. Joseph this Monday, the 11th, nine days before St. Joseph's March 19th feast. He invited the faithful to join him.
In today's message, he expressed enthusiastic gratitude for the prayer of the Church: "Heartfelt thanks for your prayers! We need them! We feel them! Keep them up! An old-timer told me that the days between the passing of one Pontiff and the election of a new one are like the days in Jerusalem after Our Lord’s Ascension to heaven. The whole Church prayed, prayed hard, prayed long, united with the apostles and the Mother of Jesus, who were locked-up in the Cenacle, awaiting the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit! That’s happening now, if your abundant and gracious notes and messages are any indication."
Cardinal Dolan recounted how he surprised a journalist by telling her that the new pontiff would bring "radical change" to the Church.
"I then went on to clarify that the Church was 'big-time' into change; namely, a change in the human heart, which Jesus called repentance or conversion," he added. "The 'job description' of the Bishop of Rome is to conserve the faith, the truths of which have been revealed to us by God, especially through His Son, Jesus, faithfully passed on by His Church these past 2000 years, and to renew the invitation of Jesus to a change of heart."
The cardinal concluded with this final observation, about prospective candidates for the next successor of St. Peter: "Do names come up? Sure. But the name most spoken about is the Most Holy Name of Jesus! Would you say His Holy Name and ask Him to send us His grace and mercy? Thanks!"
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On the Net:
Cardinal Dolan's blog: http://blog.archny.org/index.php/greetings-again-from-rome/