When I had the chance to speak with the Holy Father briefly this fall, I thanked him. I thanked him for Jesus of Nazareth, the series he gave us, helping us better know the Son of God, Divine Mercy and Love.
Every person I was with that day, receiving messages from him for the world, did the same: Said thank you. And that’s what cardinals are doing now. On his radio show Monday, Timothy Cardinal Dolan previewed what he hoped to say to the Holy Father:
Whatever the complications in life, whatever the challenges, whatever the obstacles, what we are watching in Rome today is love. It’s a desire to live the Gospel, live love, be healed by Divine Mercy, be reconciled with God, and share it all every moment of our lives! How close we can be to one another, in Christ, if we pray! If we pray for faithfulness! If we surrender!
I think it is going to be very informal, very fraternal, very friendly. I understand he’s going to chat with each of us. I’ll find it very moving, I think. But I’m very eager just to say, ‘Holy Father, I’ll never forget you. The people of the Archdiocese of New York and I love you. We’re with you all the way. We’re praying with you and for you. We ask your prayers and we thank you for the radiant leadership you’ve given as Successor to Peter. I’m eager to say that and I want to make sure he hears me.
After I thanked the Pope Benedict for his series on Jesus, he asked me where I was from. I told him, New York. And the Holy Father reacted with an enthusiasm that I imagine might have made Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, who so enjoyed New York, jump with joy even in the midst of a joy we can’t even comprehend. I thanked him for Cardinal Dolan and he said: “he is an excellent cardinal!” We pray we all may be excellent, united always to God’s willing, living in His love, resting in his peace, whatever challenges we may face.