VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork) – New York’s new cardinal spent Sunday celebrating Mass with Pope Benedict XVI and celebrating with pilgrims who made the trip for his elevation.
“That’s what your prayers do for me. They hold me up, they bolster me, to see all of you means the world. It’s the greatest gift of all,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan, thanking the pilgrims who accompanied him to Rome.
Dolan was in a relaxed mood after the majestic formality of a Papal Mass at the Basilica of St. Peter, sharing a toast with a table of Italians who just happened to be nearby.
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The pope was joined by Dolan and the other new cardinals along with thousands of worshipers gathered around the main altar.
Cardinal Dolan surprised his nieces Erin and Shannon by arranging for them to bring Communion gifts to the Pontiff.
“I found out last night, at dinner. Uncle Tim told me. I was so grateful, it was just unbelievable,” said Shannon Williams, Dolan’s niece.
“And knowing Erin was carrying a baby in her womb, I don’t think I teared up until I saw them go up to the Holy Father. And when I saw my brother-in-law Fred who’s battling cancer big time, receive Communion from the Pope, that drove it all home,” Dolan told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello.
Stories last week in the Italian Press painted Pope Benedict XVI as not fully in charge of the Church, and buffeted by infighting among powerful cardinals.
“Since the early days of the Acts of the Apostles, the early Church, we’ve always had our share of scandals and sin, and you just keep going through the grace and mercy of God,” Dolan said.
As the consistory weekend comes to a close, there is a sense at the Vatican that the pope has in Cardinal Dolan a media-friendly ally, skilled in using humor in the defense of the Church.
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