One Nation Under God

Bless Us O Lord! Photo from Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Hill 4-28-2012 EA Photographer © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Tonight Timothy Cardinal Dolan delivered the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention. He spoke with eloquence and honesty. His reverent heartfelt prayer filled the air for a mere 5 minutes, but it will resound in countless hearts for much longer.

The full text of Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s closing Benediction is:

With a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love: Let us Pray.

Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation. Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States. Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.

We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love. Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom’s defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.

We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community. May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.

We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.

And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice. We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom’s cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.

And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.For we are indeed “one nation under God,” and “in God we trust.” So dear God, bless America. You who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen!

(Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Democratic National Convention, September 6,
2012)

Leadership. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012 Photo from Cardinal Dolan’s Mass of Thanksgiving 4-28-2012, photographer KJUjr

Absolute Brilliance! In humility and love may we join Cardinal Dolan in petitioning God Almighty to shed His Grace upon this great country, and guide our hearts to elect leaders who will truly reverence the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

LifeNews writer Steven Ertelt, published a well written synopsis of Cardinal Dolan’s Benediction on the LifeNews site at: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/09/06/cardinal-dolan-lectures-democrats-on-promoting-abortion/. This link includes not only a written transcript of the prayer, but also a link to the entire 5 minute C-SPAN broadcast.

May God continue bless all who gratefully acknowledge the benevolence of God’s Providential Grace, and seek to promote liberty and justice for all, for the greater glory of His Almighty Name in time and eternity.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. JMJ

Cardinal Dolan’s Mass of Thanksgiving: Welcoming Home a Good Shepherd

Ergo sum pastor bonus, dicit Dominus; et cognosco oves meas, et cognos- cunt me meae.“I am the Good Shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep and mine know me (John 10:14).”

This is My Body! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. photo by KJU

Through this blog, I have previously expressed my esteem for Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Just prior to his elevation in February, I posted, “May God Bless Timothy Cardinal Dolan,” https://salvematerdei.com/2012/02/20/may-god-bless-timothy-cardinal-dolan/, tracing my admiration for this brilliant, charismatic leader to his early days as Archbishop of Milwaukee, and his involvement with my cherished Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Bless these O Lord, . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Months ago, when I heard that Cardinal Dolan had chosen to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Hill, I was thrilled. It was under his leadership that Holy Hill became a minor Basilica. During Cardinal Dolan’s 7 years as Archbishop of Milwaukee, he affectionately used to call Holy Hill, “Our Mother’s House” or “Our Lady’s House.” How fitting for one of Blessed Virgin’s favorite sons to make his homecoming, in Her House. Over the months, the sense of anticipation built to a crescendo. As we would come and go for daily Mass the kids and I enjoyed watching the preparations unfold. For weeks the sacristy and grounds have been abuzz with busy hands. Even the very door handles of the upper church were scrubbed to a polish!

Fr. Don Brick, O.C.D., Rector of the Basilica, was charged with the monumental task of organizing the Cardinal’s visit to Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. He and the Archdiocesan staff worked tirelessly to make this homecoming a success. In recent weeks, one truly began to wonder if Fr. Don could bilocate – sightings of the busy friar were reported from all corners of the grounds. One would catch a glimpse of him with the grounds-keepers mulching the bushes, five minutes later he’d be in his confessional before Holy Mass, later we’d see him with workers repairing the wrought-iron railing around the out-door Stations of the Cross. The man was everywhere! His sense of humor remained in-tact, and it was easy to discern that each detail of these preparations was born of a labor of love.

Fr. Rocky (Francis Hoffman) of Relevant Radio & KJ . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

My family was blessed to participate with the music for this celebration. Two of my children played violin and viola, while two others sang in the choir. Under Annie’s gentle direction, weeks of practice and polish manifested into a sound that Heaven must have inspired.

Welcome Home! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Saturday morning arrived and my eldest served the 11 a.m. Mass, as is his habit. The girls brought their instruments and helped with the final preparations. A frigid rain may have kept the crowds at bay, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of those present. In a huge white tent in the middle parking lot, folks began to gather around 5 a.m., waiting for a coveted wrist band – a necessary pass to obtain a seat in either the upper or lower churches. Among the hundreds of folks waiting in the wee morning hours were our dear Schoenstatt Sisters from Pewaukee. Cardinal Dolan has a special devotion to Our Mother Thrice Admirable, and Schoenstatt spirituality. One of the sisters had brought a lovely image of Our Mother Thrice Admirable for the Cardinal to bless.

I know My Sheep, and My Sheep Know Me © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Despite the large crowds and foul weather, the atmosphere remained festive. Cordial conversations bonded intimate strangers, sharing exuberance in the beauty of the day. We were there for HOURS – in that time we passed among thousands of people. Through it all, there wasn’t a harsh word, a snide comment, or a muffled complaint. Dignitaries arrived and the press and cameras seemed to fill every corner. Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner, Sheriff David Clark, and Tommy Thompson all waited to share this moment in time. I marveled at how flawlessly the day progressed; joy and peace filled the Basilica.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, Bishop Donald Hying, and Bishop David Ricken © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

As Cardinal Dolan and the concelebrating Bishops and priests began to line up for the processional hymn, the exhilaration was palpable. Holy Mass was incredible! Cardinal Dolan was welcomed home by a congregation who truly loves him. He was joined by Archbishop Listecki and Bishops Don Hying, William Callahan, and David Ricken, as well as dozens of ordered and diocesan priests in concelebrating this magnificent Mass. I will never forget the beautiful image of all of those faithful shepherds filling the sanctuary during the Eucharistic prayer.

Shepherd Us © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

This was Good Shepherd Sunday, and the reading from John 10: 11-18 seemed chosen for this moment in time.

“I am the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, the wolf catches them and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. . . “

Bless them O Lord! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. KJU photographer

While Jesus Christ is The Good Shepherd, it is abundantly clear that He elevated Timothy Cardinal Dolan to be one of the Princes of His Church, because this dear human man is himself a good shepherd. He is no mere hired-hand, nor is he one to capitulate to the wolves of contemporary society. No, in recent months Cardinal Dolan confirmed the fiber of his character. As a good shepherd he is willing to defend his flock from the dark threats. Standing up for religious freedom, Cardinal Dolan has demonstrated that when wolves lurk with HHS mandates and assaults to religious liberty, that he will defend not only his flock, but sheep from all folds. Truly his life has become that of a public figure. He can no longer sneak into the Basilica at Holy Hill unannounced and pray in solitude. Where he goes throngs follow, and unlike the crowds at Holy Hill, those crowds are not always filled with well-wishers. Cardinal Dolan is living the life of the good shepherd – he lives for his flock, and is willing to defend both their spiritual and temporal existence from dark and real threats.

Good Shepherd Sunday, May God Bless Them © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. KJU photographer

Saturday was a Mass of Thanksgiving. Cardinal Dolan was here to thank Our Lord for the gift of his office. However, each of us in the pews also experienced this as a Mass of Thanksgiving, as a Mass at which we expressed our deepest gratitude to God for the gift of Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

With sincerest gratitude to The Good Shepherd for giving us this good shepherd, may God continue bless Cardinal Timothy Dolan!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

A.M.D.G.

MA JMJ

With Gratitude and Love © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

May God Bless Timothy Cardinal Dolan!

God Bless Cardinal Dolan

Well its official, our beloved Archbishop Dolan is now officially Timothy Cardinal Dolan. I deeply admire Cardinal Dolan, and am thrilled that the rest of the world has had more exposure to the faith, intellect, and genuine goodness of this remarkable individual.

Over the past month, Cardinal Dolan has assumed center stage in a contentious moral and political debate. As President of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Cardinal Dolan has courageously championed our constitutional right of Freedom of Religion, – a right President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius have attempted to trample via the recent HHS mandate forcing Catholic (and other religious) institutions to pay for or offer contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization without co-pay as a required component of “health” insurance. Through it all, Cardinal Dolan has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the truths of our faith. His example of moral courage and authentic leadership is all the more illuminating when seen in contrast to the political shenanigans and posturing of Obama and his administration.

The kids and I have followed Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s trip to Rome for the consistory eagerly on EWTN, Facebook and Twitter. Our Archbishop Dolan, elevated to a cardinal! Amazing! Every Milwaukee Catholic has at least one favorite Cardinal Dolan story, and I have several.

Our family first crossed paths with this dynamic spiritual leader on August 18, 2002, at Irish Fest, in the Marcus Amphitheater, on Lake Michigan. Our new Archbishop celebrated Holy Mass to a packed crowd, just days before his official installation as Milwaukee’s tenth Archbishop. Sitting there with my then four young children (ages 9 mos., 2, 3, and 6), my husband and I were deeply impressed not only by our new Archbishop’s faith and intellect, but also absolutely charmed by his legendary wit. The electricity at that Mass was palpable; Archbishop Dolan’s love for Christ and Our Lady was as contagious as his humor. I bonded immediately as he confessed a fear of driving on Wisconsin’s winter roads- yep, we had an awesome Archbishop, with the same human trepidation I felt.

The Kids and a painting of Archbishop Dolan at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

As the years passed, my esteem for Archbishop Dolan continued to grow. I watched with interest and admiration as he tackled the numerous challenges of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Archbishop Dolan shares my love of the Basilica of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. In fact, it was under his leadership that on November 19, 2006, this beautiful, historic church was elevated to the honor of being one of the less than 60 minor basilicas in the United States. The kids and I loved attending Archbishop Dolan’s Masses at Holy Hill. Over the years we had many opportunities to gain a first-hand appreciation of his deep abiding faith, and charismatic personality. We were there at Holy Hill when Archbishop Dolan consecrated the entire Milwaukee Archdiocese to Immaculate Heart of Mary. Over the years, I was impressed by Archbishop Dolan’s sincere devotion to the Blessed Mother. I loved how he used to call Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians “Our Lady’s House;” so simple, so profound, so true.

Holy Hill Basilica, National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians © SalveMaterDei.com, KJ photographer

We were at Holy Hill in June of 2006. Archbishop Dolan’s Masses were usually packed, standing room only. This was no exception, however this Mass was different in another way. On June 6, 2006 a couple of troubled youths spray painted satanic symbols and graffiti all over Holy Hill; they desecrated the outdoor stations of the cross, even the very front door of the church. It cost approximately $33,000 to sandblast the stations and remove those hideous red marks. Soon after, Archbishop Dolan was there for Sunday Mass- I can still remember how his tremendous voice bellowed  “Begone Satan” and with that he announced once and for all that Holy Hill forever belonged to Christ. I still get goosebumps when I think of his amazing, comforting presence that day. He took an angry, grieving congregation, and reminded us of the need to forgive, be healed and let Christ’s love be victorious. He was right – it was shortly after, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel that it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI would elevate Holy Hill to the level of a minor Basilica.

An inspiring moment © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

I remember the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, 2008. We had just adopted our lovely little girl from Guatemala. Packed in a pew near the back, my seven kids and I waited for Archbishop Dolan’s blessing as he processed toward the altar. We were thrilled that he stopped for just a moment and squeezed the hand of our newest little daughter. It was a lovely Mass- the kids were mesmerized by our gentle, wise Archbishop. The best was yet to come. We were among the last to leave the Church. Remember this is July 16- it is hot in Wisconsin in July, and those vestments can’t be comfortable. Archbishop Dolan graciously stood in the doorway of Holy Hill, conversing with the faithful, and extending his blessing, smiling as if he had nothing else to do, and that each recipient of his blessing was a close friend. As my little brood of seven lined up to kiss his ring, and ask for a blessing, my eldest son (then 12 years old) announced that he aspired to be a Carmelite priest. Archbishop Dolan extended a hand toward him, pointed, and in that signature booming voice announced, “I want to ordain you!” Kenny’s feet barely touched the ground- he was absolutely overwhelmed. Archbishop Dolan continued to chat with him, they conversed about homeschooling, and faith; and then he blessed us. Kenny has carried that moment with him ever since. That solitary exchange provided invaluable support for the budding vocation of a certain young man. As Archbishop Dolan took him seriously, I too began to look at his aspirations with fresh eyes, and a new earnestness.

Archbishop Dolan Blesses Our Little One © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

A year later, we were back at Holy Hill. It was a whirlwind weekend. Our newest daughter had just arrived from Ethiopia a mere 18 –hours before. It was Laetare Sunday, and Archbishop Dolan’s last Mass at Holy Hill before moving to New York. He concelebrated a lovely, yet bitter-sweet Mass. Once again, Archbishop Dolan spoke of being at home in “Mary’s House.” He joked about resembling a bottle of Pepto-Bismol in his rose-pink vestments. God had spoiled us. He had given Milwaukee Catholics a tremendous gift, but now it was time to share it with the rest of the world. After Mass, our family stood in line in the Shrine Chapel to get one last word, one last blessing. Archbishop Dolan smiled as he saw Kenny, he called him by name, and asked: “How’s school Kenny, do you still like your teacher?” Kenny stammered that he was homeschooled. Archbishop Dolan, nodded and said, “I know, do you still like your teacher?” Kenny nodded. Amazingly, he reiterated to Kenny, “I want to ordain you!” We were floored. Undoubtedly this holy man of God had crossed paths with thousands of folks in the past year, grasped their hands, heard their stories, and prayed with them; yet he remembered this young man, and his dreams. What a remarkable individual. The Archbishop proceeded to blessed us. We explained that our new little girl had just arrived from Ethiopia. Archbishop Dolan scooped up all 13lbs of our little princess, held her close and again blessed us all. He is an amazing man. It is a privilege to have received his blessing.

May Our Dear Lord continue to bless Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and may he in turn continue to bless all whose lives he touches.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.