A Red-Light Tribute to New York’s Beloved Cardinal

This story is beginning to make its way around the web—Rocco Palmo was the first, I think, to post a picture showing the New York skyline, in all its glory.

Here it is:  The One World Trade Center building glowing red to honor New York’s own newly appointed Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.

U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents the 13th District of New York, is the guy to thank for this flamboyant salute to New York’s new cardinal.  Congressman Grimm first approached the Empire State Building  to request that they honor Cardinal Dolan by lighting the building in red.  The Empire State management declined, as they did in August 2010 when asked to use blue lights honoring Mother Teresa, citing their regulations which prohibit lighting displays favoring a religious organization.  The Congressman took his request to the still-unfinished One World Trade Center, which agreed to the display.

The New York Port Authority issued a statement announcing the lighting:  “The Port Authority has agreed to light One World Trade Center–at no cost to the agency–beginning tonight, February 24th, for one week.”

Congressman Grimm is quoted in the Port Authority’s press release:

“Where there is a will there is a way, and One WTC is even more appropriate as a symbol of hope, courage and the bright future of New York, all of which Cardinal Dolan exemplifies. I applaud the Port Authority’s decision to step up and honor our hometown hero by lighting One World Trade Center in cardinal red.  This illumination will not just serve as a celebration of Cardinal Dolan, but of all our city’s heroes.  It is an opportunity for all of us to honor the lives and bravery of those we lost, and to show our pride for a local leader who has given so much to the people of New York with his faith and charity.”

Representative Grimm posted a celebratory comment on his Facebook page:

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and I can say that the Empire State Building is missing out!  Cardinal Dolan is an exceptional individual all New Yorkers can be proud of.  I am thrilled that the PANYNJ has stopped up to honor him by lighting One WTC in red!

Congressman Mike Grimm was a hometown hero before this current accomplishment:  a graduate (Magna Cum Laude) from New York School of Law, a U.S. Marine who fought in the Persian Gulf, an FBI Special Agent, then an Undercover Special Agent investigating corruption in politics and beyond, and finally an entrepreneur.


Lenten Sacrifices: Something Simple for God

Lenten resolutions. We make them, we break them, we take them so seriously.

We resist chocolate or cigarettes or soda or sweets.  But are we changed, after forty days of deprivation?

I was inspired this year by a little book I read, Simplifying the Soul by Paula Huston.  In it, Huston suggests small sacrifices for each of the days of Lent—thereby making more room for God in your life and in your heart.  Her ideas are not the typical deprivations that first come to mind; instead, she encourages the reader to “simplify the soul” by simplifying part of everyday life:  money, schedules, relationships….

Perhaps you—with your separate set of sins and personal challenges—would stop at a different page, ponder a different resolution.  As for me, I was inspired by her suggestion that I simplify my space by scrubbing a dirty corner.

I could see the logic in that simple exercise, and so was born one of my Lenten sacrifices:  Clean out the junk drawer.  Junk drawers (plural), actually.  In the kitchen, besides the silverware and essentials, I stash plastic utensils, restaurant menus, souvenir matchbooks, condiments still in their plastic pouches, expired coupons, twist ties… you get the picture.  In the guest bedroom I’ve got old business cards, old greeting cards, broken jewelry, pens that don’t work, shoes that don’t fit, minutes from meetings from companies where I no longer work….  In the bathroom are hotel soaps, old make-up, a sewing kit, four hairbrushes….

Those things are there because I hate—HATE!—spending my time on housework when there are books to be read, movies to be watched, sodas to be sipped, flowers to be planted, games to be played.  For me, cleaning a drawer will be an earnest giving of myself for a higher good.  If I pray while I organize, so much the better!

Here are some other [unusual, but effective] Lenten simplifications which you might consider:

  • If you’re a fashion-plate:  Don’t wear earrings.
  • If you’re a foodie:  Have a simple grilled cheese sandwich and soup.
  • If you’re an avid reader:  Switch up from mysteries to spiritual reading, at least in the evening.
  • If you’re an armchair athlete:  Consider whether you might skip watching ONE game this weekend, and do something special with the kids.

As you strive to conform your will to Christ’s during this Lenten season, are there any unusual fasts or penances you’ve imposed on yourself?  Please share with us!


And may Easter Sunday find you joy-filled and holy.