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Exclusive: Archbishop Dolan Concludes Holy Land Visit, Sets Sights On St. Peter’s In Rome

Cardinal-Designate Gushes About Time Spent With 50 N.Y. Priests In Israel
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Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Archbishop Timothy Dolan speaks to CBS 2 upon completion of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Israel. (Photo: CBS 2)

JERUSALEM (CBS 2) — New York’s archbishop wrapped up his trip to Israel and the Holy Land with an exclusive interview with CBS 2.

As Tony Aiello reports, for Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, it was an emotional pilgrimage.

“For the Christian community, Israel is not just a museum, it’s the church. It’s still alive,” Dolan said.

Dolan, on the eve of his return to New York, reflected on his nine-day pilgrimage to Israel, where he made a somber visit to the Holocaust memorial and spent quality time with 50 priests of the New York Archdiocese.

This was Dolan’s fifth trip to the Holy Land, but was the first visit for many of the parish leaders who celebrated mass Wednesday at the Church of the Visitation, which is nestled in the hills of Jerusalem.

“When I see how emotional they are that does something for me. To come to the land of the Bible, to see how that ignites their faith and rekindles it, that touches me,” Dolan said.

And the priests said it was a great way to get to know the boss.

Father Christopher Berean works in Ulster County, 100 miles from New York City.

“It’s my first time ever here in the Holy Land and I’ve gotten a double blessing of being in this holy place and being with him at the same time. I’ve gotten to know him personally, which has been a wonderful thing,” Father Berean said.

“It turned into something even more powerful for me,” Dolan added.

The cardinal-designate said it wasn’t planned this way, but the pilgrimage took place just weeks before Pope Benedict will make Dolan a “prince of the church.”

Dolan said he’s not worried about the responsibilities, but as for the ceremony …

“Yeah, I’ll be kind of nervous that I don’t trip over the new red cassock, walking up the center aisle of St. Peter’s with the pope and 21 of my new brother cardinals. That could be a little intimidating,” Dolan said.

The archbishop said the food in Israel is much better than he remembers it from his last visit a decade ago. He said he is looking forward to returning as a cardinal, with a group of New York Catholic and Jewish leaders.

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