Newly installed Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan paid a visit to the church’s East Bronx Vicariate, attending a prayer service and then holding a meet and greet at Our Lady of Assumption Church.
More than 1,000 people from across the Vicarate – which includes churches in 10 distinct neighborhoods including Pelham Bay, Morris Park, and Soundview – attended the prayer service and evening of choral singing in Our Lady of Assumption’s school gymnasium on Monday, October 26.
Dolan stayed after the service as a line of well-wishers snaked around the perimeter of the gym, with the archbishop taking time to chat briefly with each parishioner from nearby churches.
“Archbishop Dolan said that the Bronx is composed of several different neighborhoods and that he wanted to make sure that he visited all parts of the borough because the church is made up of its people,” said OLA pastor and east Bronx regional vicar Monsignor Donald Dwyer. “The church is not buildings, it is not office towers. We have ten different neighborhoods in the East Bronx Vicarate. He wanted to see for himself, through his own eyes, the priests and the people.”
For many faithful Catholics, the chance to meet the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church in New York was a way to connect with a faith that has sustained them through both good and bad times.
“I think Archbishop Dolan is a warm person who is very receptive to the people of the church,” said OLA parishioner Louise D’Angelo. “I like the fact that the reception was held at OLA – which is my own parish.”
Former Federation of Catholic Teachers union leader Margaret Menard, also a parishioner at Our Lady of Assumption, said that after having worked with three previous archbishops in contract negotiations, she wanted to meet Edward Cardinal Egan’s successor.
“This has been my parish for the past 35 or 40 years,” Menard said.
“When I was a [Catholic school teacher’s] union president, I worked with Cardinal Cooke, Cardinal O’Conner, and Cardinal Egan, so I wanted to meet the successor.”
Elysia Morciglio, a teacher at Cardinal Hayes High School and a parishioner of Our Lady of Solace parish said that she was impressed by the archbishop’s easygoing temperament.
“He seemed very down to earth, genuine, and polite,” Morciglio said. “He is also a Yankee fan.”
For Msgr. Donald Dwyer, the night was a big success.
“This is probably the first time people from this area have personally greeted him,” Dwyer said. “Seeing is believing and they are happy with what they saw.”
©2009 Community News Group