“New York is a magic place to be for Christmas,” Dolan said, calling the Holy Day a “booster shot of hope” for the City and the world.
Hours before addressing the faithful at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he received a warm welcome in much smaller surroundings, the FDNY‘s Engine Company 8, Ladder 2 on East 51st Street.
“I wanted to come because everybody can be home tonight a little safer and more comfortable and more secure because they know you are on duty so thank you very much for that,” he said.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reports
“We can feel secure and happy at Christmas because they are on duty,” he said.
In much of the world, Christmas was already underway. In rainy Bethlehem, more than 100,000 Christians were drawn to the place where Jesus was born.
“To be here at this place is quite special I think,” one man from Poland said.
At St. Peter’s Basilica, the traditional Midnight Mass got a 10 p.m. start to afford the 84-year-old Pope Benedict XVI some extra rest leading up to his Christmas Day speech.
As for Archbishop Dolan, he promised a homily full of optimism and joy, something that met the approval of those outside St. Patrick’s.
“I think if we listen to what Archbishop Dolan has to say about hope and peace maybe there could be some resolution towards everything going on in the world today,” said Greg Packer of Huntington, N.Y.
“A feeling of goodness togetherness community hopefully it will carry on not just this year but longer than that,” said Kelly Gilbert of Saddle River, N.J.
Dolan describes Midnight Mass as the Superbowl at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
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