Monday, February 23, 2009

Archbishop Dolan will be leaving for New York

This is a post that's hard to write for me. It's written in the midst of tears because of how much he's meant to us here and how sorely he will be missed.

Let me take you back to 2002. Our archdiocese had been lacking in solid leadership for several decades which ended quite suddenly in a grave scandal that personally involved the previous archbishop. Support for this previous archbishop had been quite divided before that time, but everyone was shaken by the scandal.

Every summer in Milwaukee, a city famous for its cultural festivals, we celebrate the largest Irish festival outside of Ireland. The Lakefront Festival grounds overflow with Irish music, dancing, food and lots of other fun cultural stuff. Sunday morning there's a huge outdoor Mass attended by thousands of people. Early in 2002 (many months before the previous archbishop retired), the Festival Committee invited Dolan, then a bishop in St. Louis, to preside at the Irish Fest Mass.

By a lovely "coincidence", Dolan's announcement as new Archbishop took place just before Irish Fest. So he arrived for this special Mass and was greeted by a huge crowd (I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think they had around 15,000 people at the Mass where they would generally expect more like 9 or 10,000). It was an incredibly moving and memorable experience to be there. You'd think the pope had come to town, there was such an outpouring of joy and relief and emotion. He walked around greeting people (before Mass I think) and everyone was cheering and crying. There was such a strong sense that God is good to bring him here.

Archbishop Dolan will be leaving Milwaukee a much better place than when he came and for that I thank him and thank God! He will very much be in our prayers!


M.E. said...

Yes, we're really going to miss him. He just confirmed my 16yo daughter two weeks ago; he remembered that she and her older sister (who was her sponsor!) were part of a "Little Flowers" group that would send him a spiritual bouquet every month, and he thanked them for their prayers.

That was a lovely post in his honor, Love2Learn Mom!

Karen E. said...

What a lovely tribute!