Native St. Louisan Archbishop Timothy Dolan named as Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI

Lisa Johnston |
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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals, including two from the United States, and announced a consistory for their formal induction on Feb. 18.

Among those named were Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, a former archbishop of Baltimore who now serves as grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; and Archbishop Thomas C. Collins of Toronto.

The pope's nominations included 10 Roman Curia officials and 16 Europeans, confirming a trend in his cardinal appointments since his election in 2005.

St. Louis roots

Cardinal designate Dolan has strong roots in the St. Louis Archdiocese, with many friends, family members and admirers who have followed his tireless work for the Church.

“I love you, and I am forever grateful to you. My friends in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are permanently etched in my heart,” Archbishop Dolan said to St. Louisans in a phone interview with the St. Louis Review when he named archbishop of New York in 2009.


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Archbishop Dolan grew up in Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1976. He was an auxiliary bishop here for less than a year when he was named archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in June 2002.

He said Milwaukee and St. Louis were similar. “Beer, brats, baseball, a heavily Catholic, friendly town.” He noted that he’ll always miss St. Louis, though. “I miss the proximity of family and friends. No matter how close you get to people away from home, you are never as close as to the people you grew up with. I miss my loyal and loving friends back home.”

Archbishop Dolan, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is often praised for being “pastoral.” As a young priest, he was associate pastor at three St. Louis parishes. He has maintained that pastoral approach in the much larger New York Archdiocese.

Archbishop Dolan said his desire was always to be a parish priest in St. Louis. “But you don’t always get your way. … When I was made auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, I told Archbishop (Justin) Rigali that I was hoping to come home to St. Louis and be a parish priest.

“Archbishop Rigali said, ‘You are a parish priest. Your parish is the entire Archdiocese of St. Louis. I’m the pastor and you are my associate.’ … that’s where it’s at, and that’s the model of Jesus. (When you read the Gospel, you see) He is mostly one on one. Blessed Mother Teresa said, ‘one soul at a time.’ I like that.”

Msgr. Michael Turek, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in South St. Louis, said at the time of his appointment to New York, “I’ve know Tim since I was 14 years old and we started high school together. It’s grown into a friendship through the years. He has this tremendous quality of endearing people to himself, remembering their birthdays and anniversaries. His recollection for that stuff is amazing. Tim lets people into his life and they allow him in their lives.

“When he becomes the preacher, they listen to him with a totally different sense, because they are listening to someone that they respect, that they love, that they feel they know well. And I think that’s the power of his preaching. He’s never aloof, never distant. He can make an entire archdiocese – as I think he did in Milwaukee and he did here in St. Louis – feel they know him personally and well,” Msgr. Turek said.

Sister Rosario Delaney, a Sister of Mercy from Ireland, is the longtime principal of Holy Infant School, which Archbishop Dolan attended as a boy. “I arrived from Ireland when he graduated from Holy Infant. But he just lived about four minutes down the street from us. Ballwin then was a new community and sparsely populated, and everyone knew everyone else. Tim spent a lot of time around the parish during his high school years. All his summers were spent working here in the school and parish, and he was completely supported and encouraged by the parish priests.”

She called Archbishop Dolan “a very, very good friend,” and said, “He is a man of faith. He is blessed with the gift of energy and enthusiasm, a man of joy. Being in his presence energizes you, fills you with hope and above all gives you a sense of self-worth.”

Other nominations

With the latest appointments, Pope Benedict has named more than 50 percent of the current cardinals under the age of 80, who are eligible to vote in a conclave.

Here is the list of the new cardinals:

• Italian Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, 65.

• Portuguese Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 73.

• Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril Castello, archpriest of Basilica of St. Mary Major, 76

• Italian Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, who turns 74 Feb. 3.

• Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State, 69.

• Italian Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Interpreting Legislative Texts, 73.

• Brazilian Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 64.

• U.S. Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, 72.

• Italian Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, who turns 69 Feb. 3.

• Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, president of Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, 68.

• Syro-Malabar Archbishop George Alencherry of India, 66.

• Canadian Archbishop Thomas C. Collins of Toronto, who will be 65 Jan. 16.

• Czech Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague, 68.

• Dutch Archbishop Willem J. Eijk of Utrecht, 58.

• Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence, 64.

• U.S. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who will turn 62 Feb. 6.

• German Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin, 55.

• Chinese Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, 72.

• Romanian Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia, 80.

• Belgian Father Julien Ries, expert on history of religions, 91.

• Maltese Augustinian Father Prosper Grech, biblical scholar, 86.

• German Jesuit Father Karl Josef Becker, theologian, 83. 

Some information for this story came from St. Louis Review files.

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