New York’s Cardinal Dolan speaks of hope and the Irish in Mullingar

Cathedral of Christ the King celebrates 75th anniversary

 Cardinal Timothy Dolan,  Archbishop of New York, at the jubilee Mass in the Cathedral of   Christ the King, Mullingar,  yesterday,  with   papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and  the Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith, to  mark the 75th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral in the diocese of Meath. Photograph:  John McElroy

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, at the jubilee Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, yesterday, with papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and the Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith, to mark the 75th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral in the diocese of Meath. Photograph: John McElroy

 

Cardinal Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan attended celebrations in Mullingar yesterday to mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Cathedral of Christ the King in the town.

It was announced last week that Cardinal Dolan will be the grand marshal of the 254th St Patrick’s Day parade in New York. The end of a ban on openly gay groups participating in the parade under their own banner was also announced by parade organisers. Cardinal Dolan has described the decision as “a wise one”.

As guest of honour and preacher at the jubilee Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King yesterday, the cardinal spoke of his debt to four Sisters of Mercy who left the convent of St Mary in Drogheda to take over Holy Infant parish school in Ballwin, Missouri, where he was a pupil.

Before the Mass he was joined in the cathedral grounds by one of those nuns, Sr Mary Bosco Daly, and couples celebrating significant wedding anniversaries, to plant a birch tree.

“How appropriate that a cathedral in the heartland of Ireland would be the first to bear that hopeful title, Christ our King,” he said. “This is an island, this is a people, this is a church that has had a litany of earthly reasons to let hope flag.

“Just look at the hope evident in the gutsy confidence of those who gathered here three-quarters of a century ago to consecrate this church, only three days after Hitler had invaded Poland, the very day England declared war on Germany. ”

He continued: “Historians . . . conclude that Ireland’s ‘harsh and dreadful’ history . . . and even its weather . . . result in either a cynical despair or a buoyant hope and, even if grudgingly at times, they credit the faith of Ireland, fostered by the church, with guaranteeing that a buoyant hope usually trumps a cynical despair.”

An estimated 1,500 people took part in a street party after the Mass, with performances by the Mullingar town band and the local arts centre, as well as children’s games and guided tours of the cathedral.