One of America’s highest ranking ecclesiastics, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, visited the Loras campus last week, Thursday, April 20.
Dolan is the current Archbishop of New York, former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, former Archbishop of Milwaukee and former Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis. He also served as the rector for the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
The archbishop was invited to Loras by alumnus John Saeman ’58, a personal friend of Dolan. During his visit, Dolan spoke with John Paul II scholars, FOCUS missionaries and student leaders, as well as members of a philosophy class, including many of seminarians.
As the Archbishop of New York, Dolan’s pastoral work includes visiting Catholic Institutions such as Loras. When giving a talk to some students, he spoke at length about the importance of philosophy and Catholic education, explaining the central mission of Catholic education is saving souls. To make this point, he recounted a story about one of his predecessors, John Cardinal O’Conner. There were two rich New York Brothers, one a very devout Catholic, and the other engaged in scandalous, newsworthy acts every weekend. The late Cardinal called the sinful brother to meet, and said that if he did not change his lifestyle, he would go to hell. The sinful brother died a devout Catholic. After his talk, he answered questions from the students, and posed for pictures, meeting and talking to many of them individually.
“Meeting Cardinal Dolan was a very inspirational experience for me. It made me remember that just as God had a plan for Cardinal Dolan, He had a plan for me. I may not become a Cardinal of the Church, but I know that whatever role I will serve in is equally important in the mission of God,” said sophomore and FOCUS student leader, Marcus Mills.
Dolan celebrated Mass at Christ the King Chapel after he visited retired Archbishop of Dubuque, Daniel Kucera. The mass was attended by hundreds, including the local fourth-degree Knights of Columbus Assembly and many priests who concelebrated the Mass with him.
In his homily, Dolan reflected on the resurrected Jesus, remarking on his wounds and his desire to eat. This, he said, emphasizes his resurrection and his physicality, as well as the woundedness of Himself and the Church.
“His homily was very relatable,” said senior Christine McDonald, “I liked how he emphasized the resurrection of Jesus and the fact that he is alive. It’s not just ‘he was alive,’ but he is alive. He’s also wounded, because we’re wounded.”
After the Mass, Dolan gave a talk on the ballrooms on Archbishop Loras, founder of the College.
“It was a really special talk to hear, especially here in Dubuque. Cardinal Dolan’s knowledge of history and wisdom of how to apply the lessons of then to now is impressive,” said junior and Seminarian Ben Valentine, “He expressed Bishop Loras’ great love for the Church and God’s people which inspired me to imitate his example.”
Dolan also spoke at a fundraiser for Divine Word College at the Grand River center the next day. This visit marks an important event in Dubuque’s long Catholic history.