My Archbishop

March 16, 2009 at 3:24 am (Uncategorized)



Emma with Archbishop Dolan

Emma with Archbishop Dolan

We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled deep thinking with an entry on the vanity wall.  Today was the St. Patrick’s Day party at my church.  It was held at the Italian Community Center downtown (and if that doesn’t make you proud to be an American, what will?)  Once the babysitters (i.e. Baba and our friend Staish) were set with the kids, Sam and I drove down.  I didn’t want to pay for parking (typical) so we slid into a spot on the street, hoping we’d be able to sneak in a side entrance.  We ran into another couple and the four of us tried to get in.  No dice.  The doors were locked, and the folks inside were having such a good time they didn’t hear our tapping at the door.

Judy and Tom decided to drive over to the front entrance and offered us a lift, but I declined, saying we’d stretch our legs.  As we started to walk around the block, who did we see coming down the street, but the Big Guy.  (Not that Big Guy…would I really be blogging had I run into Him this afternoon????)  “Can’t you get in?” asked the Arch, as I’ve always thought of him.  “Nope,” I said, “but now that you’re here…” and we turned back to the side door.  First, however, Sam had the presence of mind to ask Archbishop Dolan if he could take a picture.  The Arch generously agreed, and I thanked him, saying that to get a photo op with him in the future, we were going to have to travel to New York.  We talked about Easter being the last mass that he would celebrate here in Milwaukee before he left for his new gig.  I told him that we were out there fairly often to see Sam’s family, and he asked us to look him up.

By this time we had reached the side entrance, and fortified by the presence of the Big Guy, I banged the door and waved my arms like a maniac until someone spotted us and let us in.  The Arch was immediately mobbed, but before he left us, he reminded us to come see him in New York, and I thanked him again for the assist.

You know, I’m really going to miss Archbishop Dolan here in Milwaukee.  He is just so open, so personable, such a sincere and warm presence, and such a good ambassador for the Church.  I remember being really skeptical before he was installed.  I adored Archbishop Weakland.  His homilies were so thought-provoking, so intellectual, so gripping.  How could the new guy measure up?  Well, he didn’t.  He was different, he was his own guy.  And he was great.  In a time of scandal, crisis really, Archbishop Dolan was enthusiastic and dedicated and inspiring.

So I’m not surprised he was such a good sport today.  We’d experienced that before.  Not quite two years ago at our other parish picnic, Henry, who was just two at the time, and I were watching an Irish dance troupe perform.  Henry had a bag of crackers he was munching on.  Up came The Arch, who looked at Henry and said, “Do you share?”  Henry looked up at Archbishop Dolan and very solemnly took one cracker out of the bag and placed it in The Arch’s big paw.  The Arch tossed the cracker into his mouth and thanked Henry, equally solemnly.  I looked at Archbishop Dolan and said, “Way to put a mom on the spot!”  He laughed and went on his rounds.  Henry asked me who that was, and I told him, “that’s Archbishop Dolan.”  He couldn’t quite get it until I told him that he had been the one at mass with the big hat.  Then the light went on.  For about a month after that, Henry told everyone that he had shared crackers “wif my Archbishop.”

So I’m not going to say good-bye to The Arch.  For one thing, he’ll be celebrating Holy Week at the Cathedral with us, so we’ll see some more of him.  And anyway, I’m totally going to go see him when I’m in New York.  Those New Yorkers had better appreciate him out there, or they will have to answer to me.


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