Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bye-Bye, Beer City

Keeping with the wall-to-wall of the Big One, at his ecclesial farewell on Sunday Tim Dolan said he was "leaving [his] heart" in Milwaukee.

Earlier today, Brewers' Nation returned the compliment as Irish pipers and dancers, politicians and a standing-room crowd of just folks turned out in the rotunda of City Hall to give the archbishop-elect of New York a "fond and boisterous" civil sendoff:
"I'm the one who thanks you," said Dolan, who has led the Milwaukee Archdiocese since 2002.

"You have my love, my prayers, my gratitude, not only for this occasion, but for the happy years among you."

The event, organized by Milwaukee Ald. Robert Donovan, featured a parade of city and county officials bestowing proclamations on Dolan and touting his leadership, friendship, and his support for Catholic schools, social justice and anti-violence programs.

"Your concern for the broader community transcended denominational boundaries  . . . as you worked to bring peace, justice and healing to all," Common Council President Willie Hines told Dolan.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who attends Dolan's parish at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, called him a friend and role model.

"You've been a spiritual adviser, and that's what I'll miss," said Clarke, adding he still expects the archbishop to call him every Easter and Christmas from New York, as he's done in Milwaukee.

Dolan said he would - "But it'll be collect."

Donovan presented the archbishop with a Brewers jersey - with "Dolan" and the number "1" on the back - and an I (heart) New York button, encouraging him to wear them if he had to attend a Mets or Yankees game. He also gave him a New York Police Benevolent Association card, given to him, he said, by a New York police officer, calling it "a get out of jail free" card.

In his thanks, Dolan exhibited the characteristic good humor that has endeared him to many in Milwaukee.

He said his meetings with Donovan were usually in the alderman's district office - at Derry's Pub on W. Blue Mound Road.

He spoke of Clarke's piety as he sat in the front pew at the Cathedral, "his head down in undistracted prayer - when the collection plate came by."
With the New York media well past chomping at the bit for all they can get of the Pope's "GODSEND!" to the city, it was announced earlier today that Dolan will hold a midmorning presser on Installation Day, 15 April.

Set to "hit the ground running" after his canonical possession of the nation's second-largest diocese, details of a very full public schedule for the tenth archbishop's first few weeks were promised by 1011 as they're finalized.

Atop the agenda, however, are a Holocaust memorial service at a Lutheran church on the 20th (where he'll preach) along with an interfaith seder at the Anti-Defamation League on the 22nd and, so it's said, several sit-downs with the priests of the archdiocese at St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie... with barbecue, to boot.

Three weeks in, Dolan will ordain his first New York priests on 9 May -- three for the archdiocese, three for the Bronx-based Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

* * *
On a related note, it's seemingly become common knowledge around town that, though he's yet to arrive full-time, the Appointed One has already jumped into his new pool with both feet.

Jumped in, that is, with his fingers on the dial.

Early on after the move was announced, Dolan -- long known for surprising everyone from priests' parents to grieving families, sick pewfolk, rabbis and reporters with check-in calls or visits -- reportedly requested phone-lists for the New York clergy, birthdates and ordination anniversaries included.

Among those said to have quickly heard from the incoming boss: his "brothers under a cloud."

Another Gothamite who got rung up was a proud piper -- an Irish layman who wrote the new archbishop just to say congrats, not thinking much else of it.

While at the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade, the guy saw a number he didn't recognize calling his mobile phone and, being amid the Fifth Avenue chaos, ignored it.

Only on hearing his voicemail did he realize that, at least for now, 414 is code for 452.

PHOTO: Benny Sleu/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel