Message from Cardinal Dolan: Updates on the Archdiocese
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Dear Family of the Archdiocese of New York,
As we prepare to enter the holy season of Lent next Wednesday, and the fast approaching one-year anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus “lockdown,” allow me to give you an update on what the archdiocese has been doing and what we continue to face.
First, let me begin with a note of gratitude, particularly to the heroic priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful, whose dedicated service to Jesus and His Church have continued to allow the Archdiocese to carry out its mission during these difficult days. We have faced the challenges that the pandemic has brought head-on, and never wavered in our commitment to care for the spiritual and human needs of God’s people.
Still, for us who look to the Church to give us the “Good News” at the core of the Savior’s preaching, we often groan at the “bad news” spread almost daily about our spiritual family, our holy Mother Church.
The lawsuits against us continue, and we grimace when the well-financed ads by tort lawyers singling out the Church keep coming; even more distressingly, our insurance companies stall us in our attempts to respond with compassion and speed to the meritorious claims of victims; biased media repeat already discredited stories about how the Church misused PPP relief money justly distributed to the Church – mainly to parishes and schools -- for help to its employees like teachers, parish secretaries, and janitors during COVID; attempts to tarnish radiant examples of independent charitable foundations guided by, yet not owned by, the Church and Her values; a Church which has been on the frontlines of the reform needed by
institution in our society regarding the sexual abuse of youth, and dioceses and agencies across the country collectively have already spent over $10 billion in compensation in helping reach some resolution with wounded victims of decades ago, maligned for “hiding assets” - - we get exhausted and frustrated to see our religious family’s vulnerabilities publicly displayed and sometimes exploited.
Like you, I nodded in agreement Sunday when the Bible-reading gave us Job’s description of the
of life. We all feel it!
Yet, Job did not have the last word, did he? Jesus did! In the “good news” of the gospel reading at Sunday Mass we see Jesus teaching, loving, helping, praying.
And He still
here and now in and through His much-maligned mystical body on earth, His
! If left to us - - bishops, clergy, all of us members of His Church - - we’d agree readily with Job and sink into hopelessness. But, Jesus thunders, “It is
Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” (Although, as my confessor whispers often to me, hell sure keeps trying!)
So, Jesus still
us in His Church, through - - to give but one exceptionally radiant example, - - our acclaimed
, now the envy of the country as, thanks to our brave principals, teachers, parents, and benefactors, they have been open, safe, healthy, and effective these dreary months of COVID.
So, our Lord continues to
through His Church right now, through, to give but one illustration, our renowned
, which has provided well over 1 million meals in their popular “pop-up pantries” throughout the ten counties of the archdiocese, and provided over $5 million worth of cash-cards to folks struggling to pay rent, transportation, food, tuition, and medicine.
So, the Divine Physician continues to
through the work of
, our Catholic nursing homes, elder-day-care centers, hospitals, visiting nurses, and in its cooperation with healthcare offices in the distribution of the sought after vaccine.
So does the Son of God continue to
with and for us, His people, in and through His Church, as our houses of worship remain up-and-running, heeding all health, safety, and sanitation requirements, with creative live-streaming of Masses, devotions, and faith-formation innovatively offered in our nearly 300 parishes for those whose concern for their health prevent them from returning to their parish churches, and as we eagerly anticipate the ordination of eight new priests to lead us in prayer this Spring.
I could go on at telephone-book (remember those?) length, but, I trust you get the point: the
of the Church flourishes, even more appreciated during these troubled times. Don’t forget that as you’re badgered by the “bad news bears” in nasty and inaccurate reports.
With prayerful best wishes for a blessed Ash Wednesday and Lent, I am,
Faithfully in Christ,
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
on Thursday, February 11 at 4:33PM