NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The celebration continues for New York’s new cardinal as religious and political leaders from across the state came out for a special prayer service to honor the city’s newest red hat.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan delivered Mass Saturday afternoon, once again making parishioners feel he is one of them. CBS 2′s Mark Morgan spoke with several parishioners who attended this morning’s prayer service, and were thrilled that he was back at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“I think he is part of New York, that he is New York and that the red hat belongs to all of us,” said parishioner Gerhard Schmitt of Roosevelt.
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“Oh I think he’s fabulous. I think it’s the best thing to happen to the Catholic Church, he’s the best thing to happen to the Catholic Church. I would love to see him go on to become pope some day,” said Mary Susan Cote of Summit, N.J.
“A lot of different cultures representing different religions,that’s what he means,” said Tony Ransom of Ridgewood, N.J.
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Earlier in the day, there was a standing ovation as Cardinal Dolan walked down the center aisle of St. Patrick’s, shaking hands with parishioners and dignitaries, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Charles Schumer and former mayor Ed Koch.
He delivered a special message filled with humility and humor, saying the honor of cardinal goes out to all of New York.
“Because the honor given me last Saturday only came because I am one of you,” he said. “This is an honor for all of New York, so that is why I refuse to wear those red socks because then it looks like my loyalties are elsewhere.”
“It was as if the Holy Father had placed the red hat on the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, home plate at Yankee Stadium, the goalposts at the Giants, or at One World Trade Center,” Dolan added.
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“It’s a great day for Catholicism and the Catholics of New York City. It was really wonderful,” said Claudia Musumeci of Murray Hill.
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Dolan called New Yorkers the real princes and holding his hat high, said “This red hat belongs to you.”
But with all the attention, Dolan said he’s determined to stay grounded as he shares his honor with the city.
“Nothing’s changed,” he said after the service. ”I’m sure happy, I’m glowing, but nothing has changed in my identity, my vision, my goals.”
Dolan returned to his normal routine at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday, leading parishioners in a solemn Ash Wednesday service. It was his first Mass back home following his whirlwind trip to the Vatican.
Thousands of parishioners attended the service which signified the beginning of lent, the six-week period of sacrifice and repentance leading up to Easter.
“It’s amazing to see some many people here,” said parishioner Sara Racey.
“I think he’s great,” said parishioner Tracee Robinson. “His personality brings a lot of happiness and fulfillment to the people of New York.”
But this week, it was back to more humble surroundings, handing out sandwiches to the homeless at St. Francis of Assisi.
Cardinal Dolan is also well-aware the Archdiocese is facing a priest shortage and he’s hard at work recruiting men to join him in the priesthood.
“The good news is we get a steady flow,” he said. “The more somber news is we’re not getting the peak that we want.”
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