On Wednesday Archbishop Timothy Dolan became the Archbishop of New York. What follows below are some of his words he preached at his installation Mass that afternoon. What a man!
"This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad! Alleluia! He has risen as He said, Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesus Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to Him and all the ages, to Him be glory and power! Amen!"
You are all so very welcome here, in this "Cathedral of suitable magnificence," as Archbishop John Hughes, whose cross I wear today, termed it, that has been such a warm, embracing spiritual home for untold millions. Thank you, thank you all for so personally supporting me as I begin this apostolic ministry in the Archdiocese of New York… Maybe I should not be so flattered that so many are here, after all, everybody wants to "take sanctuary on income tax day!"
My dear family, when I told [my] mom that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed me Archbishop of New York, I remarked, "Mom, whatever God gives me in life, His greatest gift to me is that I am Bob and Shirley Dolan's son." I mean that. And I'm so glad Mom is here this afternoon [she almost didn’t make it] because there's a sale on at Macy's!
But, I hope you understand, as grateful as I am to all of you, there is another claim on my gratitude that towers above all the rest. Above all, above all, I give praise to God, our Father, for raising His Son Jesus Christ from the dead! For Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures for ever! For this is not all about Timothy Dolan, or all about cardinals and bishops, or about priests and sisters, or even about family and cherished friends.
Nope, this is all about two people: Him and her . . . this is all about Jesus and His Bride, the Church. For, as de Lubac asked, "What would I ever know of Him without her?"
The Resurrection, Easter, is the very foundation of our faith, our hope, our love. Everything in the Church commences when, like those two disciples on the road to Emmaus that first Easter, we recognize Jesus as risen from the dead. The Church herself begins. The Resurrection of Jesus is so central to our faith that we celebrate it every Sunday at Mass. On my first day as your archbishop I dream that we can reclaim Sunday as the Lord's Day, anchored in our faithfulness to Sunday Mass, our weekly family meal with the risen Jesus.
In thanking God for the Resurrection of Christ, we thank God for the Church. For as "Jesus is the human face of God," as Pope Benedict XVI often reminds us, the Church is the human face of Jesus. For us as Catholics, Christ and His Church are one. The triumph, the life, the light, the mercy, the raising up, the salvation which exploded Easter morning as Jesus rose from the dead continues in His Church, an extraordinary spiritual family that gathers men and women of every nation, race, language, and background into a breathing tapestry of faith. The power of the risen Christ shows itself -- Christ shows Himself! -- in the extraordinary community that is the Church.
God's love for us is so personal, so passionate, so intense that He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation. And when God the Father raised His Son from the dead, He put His divine seal of approval upon His work of art, the human project, on women and men made in His own image and likeness, washed clean by the blood of His Son on Good Friday, destined to spend eternity at His side, and assured us, "The evil, horror, lies, hate, suffering and death of last Friday will not prevail! Goodness, decency, truth, love, and life will have the last word."
That's the Easter message the Church is entrusted to live and to tell. For, believe it or not, the dying and rising of Jesus continues in His Church.
The risen Christ is alive here in the Church in and through her priests. My brother priests: you are the apple of my eye! You mean everything to me. Without you, I can do nothing. In you I still see St. Isaac Joques, Venerable Felix Varela, Issac Hecker, Fighting Father Duffy, Fulton J. Sheen, Richard John Neuhaus, Avery Dulles; in you I see men who continue the power of the resurrection at the altar, in the confessional, in the classroom, with the sick, searching, and the poor. I have long admired you from afar, but today for the first time I can say, "my brother priests" of the Archdiocese of New York-my admiration, deep appreciation, and unflagging love to you;
The awesome yet gentle might of the Christ's Resurrection continues… as His Church continues to embrace and protect the dignity of every human person, the sanctity of human life, from the tiny baby in the womb to the last moment of natural passing into eternal life. As the Servant of God Terrence Cardinal Cooke wrote, "Human life is no less sacred or worthy of respect because it is tiny, pre-born, poor, sick, fragile, or handicapped." Yes, the Church is a loving mother who has a zest for life and serves life everywhere, but she can become a protective "mamma bear" when the life of her innocent, helpless cubs is threatened. Everyone in this mega-community is a somebody with an extraordinary destiny. Everyone is a somebody in whom God has invested an infinite love. That is why the Church reaches out to the unborn, the suffering, the poor, our elders, the physically and emotionally challenged, those caught in the web of addictions.
The risen Jesus remains alive in this archdiocese as the Church partners with respected neighbors and friends of other Christian families, our Jewish older brothers and sisters in the faith, who today conclude Passover and have our best wishes, and with our Islamic and Eastern religious communities, as the Church relishes the unique ecumenical and inter-religious concord of this greater New York community; and as the archdiocese collaborates with our political, civic, cultural, and business leaders, so very welcome here today, in all noble prospects advancing human welfare and dignity. Seven-and-a-half years ago, on September 11, 2001, New Yorkers gave a lesson of extraordinarily generous courage to the world. Selfless police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical personnel, saved lives, and many gave theirs. Their sacrifice was an ecumenical, interreligious civic testimony to the worth of every human person. You did us all proud, and now how proud I am now to partner with all of you in that same spirit…
And just what, I ask you, does the Church have to give? Does she have power and clout, property and prestige? Forget it! Those days are gone, if they ever did exist at all… The Church really has no treasure but her faith in the Lord, which is not bad at all, as we shrug and say with Peter and John in the Acts of the Apostles, "Silver and gold we have not, but, what we do have, we give: Jesus Christ!
Now, let me bring this home by suggesting that we all take a little stroll down...the road to Emmaus. See, I mentioned to you that the Church continues not just the rising but also the dying of Jesus Christ. We've just been through a litany of ways that the rising of Jesus radiates in the Church in this historic archdiocese. But we'd be naive if we overlooked the dying, wouldn't we? For indeed not only the Resurrection but the cross, the dying, of Christ goes on...
I say to you, my sister and brother disciples now on the road to Emmaus, let's not turn inward to ourselves, our worries, our burdens, our fears; but turn rather to Him, the way, the truth, and the life, the one who told us over and over, "Be not afraid!", who assured us that He "would be with us all days, even to the end of the world," and who promised us that "not even the gates of hell would prevail," the one who John Paul the Great called, "the answer to the question posed by every human life," and recognize Him again in His word, in the "breaking of the bread," in His Church. Let Him "turn us around" as He did those two disciples, turned them around because, simply put, they were going the wrong way, and sent them running back to Jerusalem, where Peter was, where the apostles were, where the Church was…
My new friends of this great archdiocese, would you join your new pastor on an "adventure in fidelity," as we turn the Staten Island Expressway, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Broadway, the FDR, the Major Deegan, and the New York State Thruway into the Road to Emmaus, as we witness a real "miracle on 34th street" and turn that into the road to Emmaus?
For, dare to believe, that from Staten Island to Sullivan County, from the Bowery, to the Bronx, to Newburgh, from White Plains to Poughkeepsie, He is walking right alongside us. "For why do we look for the living among the dead? He is risen as He said, alleluia, alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever."