My Tim Dolan story? Wellllllll, OK.
Picture it... Sicily... 1924... Just kidding.
Back in Christmas of 1996, seventeen classmates and three faculty members from Mount St. Mary's Seminary organized a trip to Rome. We began planning and saving our money during our first year in the seminary, knowing that the Christmas of Third Theology would be the last time we would be able to be anywhere other than in our parish assignments. It was a great trip (but that's for another blog entry).
So, my Tim Dolan story. On Christmas Day, 1996, following the Pope's Urbi et Orbi blessing, the Rector of the North American College, then-Monsignor Dolan, invited us up the Gianicolo for lunch. Rome, for as big as it is, is a pretty dead city on Christmas Day, with stores, restaurants, and even churches closed. Add to it the fact that many of us (albeit of our own free will) were away from our families at Christmas for the first time. It was a very kind gesture.
At the lunch, which was a mix of seminarians, clergy, Rome residents, and visiting tourists (Americans all), Msgr. Dolan was an exceedingly gracious host. He walked from table to table with that infectious smile, shaking hands and slapping backs, acting as if we were longtime friends who were doing him the favor by showing up to eat. Following lunch, he insisted everyone had to toast Christmas with a glass of champagne and a mix of panettone and chocolate (he came around personally to dispense the chocolate).
THAT is my Tim Dolan story; THAT is whom the Priests of New York got last evening as their spiritual daddy.
Want to know more about him? Remember, you can also read the books I mentioned in a previous blog entry.