Charm of Cardinal Dolan

Whenever I'm in Rome, I would visit (and revisit) many churches. Among my favourites are the cardinal titular churches. So far I have visited 136 of them.

With a break from the General Congregations, on Sunday most cardinal-electors celebrated a mass in their titular churches. I travelled to the suburb of Sant'Onofrio, to the Church of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario, of which Cadinal Timothy Dolan is the titular priest. In 2012 when he was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, he was assigned this title because of the connection of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, to the United States.

The coat-of-arms of Cardinal Dolan hangs at the portal of the church.

As I arrived, I saw hundreds of people outside of the church (who apparently could not go inside the packed building). 40 reporters surrounded the entrance to the church property.

The church itself is very humble, simpler than most other titular churches in Rome. It can hold no more than 300 people (although probably a thousand people were packed in the church on this event), and lacks any sort of decorations within and without. It has a sizable Spanish congregation that is struggling with the Italian language (which I found out when I attended the next Mass).

The church is quite plain, and the only noteworthy "art" is the Jesus figure on top of the baptismal font, which I don't quite get.
Cardinal Dolan presided in the Laudate Sunday with the distinct rose vestments, and managed to make the Italian congregation laugh during the homily. When the Mass had ended, reporters were expecting the cardinal would exit from the front and address them. Instead he was led to the parish rectory next to the church through a passage from the sacristy. I saw him and quickly decided to go to a soccer field next to the back of the rectory, and occupied the spot closest to the entrance of the rectory. Later I overheard that the cardinal decided to address the reporters. Arrangements were made to lead the reporters to the backyard of the rectory.

To my joy, the spot where His Eminence would stand was just 2 metres away from me, although we were separated by a fence. All reporters were asking questions at once, and Dolan had to start with some jokes. He used his usual charm to make the reporters feel comfortable with him. Of the things that he said, the cardinals had started a novena to St. Joseph, to pray for the guidance from the Patron of the Church in the election process. He also joked that he would bring some candy bar into the conclave because he heard the food in the conclave would not be that good. Finally, he said he believed that the conclave would not last very long, and would be in time to travel back to the States for the Passion Sunday.

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