Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cardinal Dolan's Challenge-The New Evangelization in New York

Congratulations to Cardinal Timothy Dolan on his elevation to the College of Cardinals and also for finding the winning formula to win over Catholic New Yorkers, the NY media and the Church hierarchy as well. No small feat. He's intelligent but his mother raised him well too. That's obvious. Cardinal Dolan knows how to smile and make others smile, how to laugh and keep things in perspective and that's very good.
No one knows better the importance of the New Evangelization than Cardinal Dolan. He's been in New York long enough to know what's going on. New York City is a culturally rich, diverse, creative and stimulating place. Some call it the "Capital of the World." If a good strategy for the New Evangelization works here, that will help it to work in other places as well. Movements start in NY and move elsewhere. It's very important that the New Evangelization works here.
I'm in Manhattan frequently as my two young adult sons live there. They live in a trendy neighborhood and there are many such neighborhoods in NYC and they're all teeming with young adults. Some of them are Catholic. As Cardinal Dolan mentioned in his keynote talk given at the pre-consistory gathering of the Pope and the College of Cardinals, there is secularism in New York but there is also deep faith. The challenge for the Cardinal and for all who are serious about the New Evangelization is making it work, really work, with positive results because the future of the Church in New York and its surroundings will depend upon it. There are just too many young people who have opted out of organized religion. That's the sad reality. The challenge is showing them that the Church has something to offer which is life-giving and enriching and that starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Dolan in his talk spoke of a 7-point plan for the New Evangelization. He mentioned that Jesus is the one who can "satisfy the thirst of the human heart." Those who were listening know that and I know that but the challenge is to bring others to that realization.
Cardinal Dolan will have to surround himself with creative, innovative thinkers, who can brainstorm new ways to implement the New Evangelization. I think that is one of his most important roles as a newly installed Cardinal of New York.