Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Letter From A NY Cardinal

I never forget when someone is kind to me or goes out of their way to show encouragement. As New York awaits the appointment of its tenth archbishop, I've been thinking about a letter I received from Cardinal O'Connor in May of 1998. It meant a lot to me. I never expected a response to the letter I mailed him, but I did receive one, much to my amazement. My letter to the Cardinal had included a copy of an article I had written for Brooklyn's diocesan newspaper, The Tablet. What was so interesting and what compelled me to send a copy to Cardinal O'Connor was the surprising fact that he wrote a similar article, on the same topic, on the same weekend my article appeared. The articles were very similar, one appeared in Brooklyn and the other article appeared in Catholic New York. This is how the letter he wrote me started, "I just returned from Rome to find your letter and your column that appeared in the Tablet. It truly must be the work of the Holy Spirit that had us taking on the same subject at the same time!" The rest of the letter spoke about the topic we wrote about (the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath, in particular Sunday morning). The letter was well thought out and hand-signed. 
It is now framed and I read it whenever I need encouragement. When Cardinal O'Connor died on May 3rd, 2000, my friend Anne Byrne and I went to Manhattan and waited on line to attend the wake in St. Patrick's Cathedral. I wouldn't have missed it. I stood before the Cardinal, prayed and paid my respects. He had been kind to me, though I never met him personally, he said and I believed it, that the Spirit was working through us at the same time.