Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Photo by Michael Dames
Life is an ongoing search for God himself, and “Fordham came through” for students who entrusted their search to the spiritual descendants of St. Ignatius Loyola, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said at Fordham College at Rose Hill’s Baccalaureate Mass.
Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, presided at the Mass, held on May 18, and called it a pause in the most noble odyssey of them all: human life itself. “The wisest of you have learned that the pivotal blessing this great university has taught is that the search will go on, although I trust a bit more confidently and competently because your search has taken you to these fair acres in the Bronx,” he said.
The sacred search for eternal salvation is an act of love and not a chore, according to the cardinal. He said he hoped Fordham students had fallen in love with friends, learning, the university, “the hope, the dream and the passion of life itself. And, deep down, I trust you’ve fallen in love with God.”
The beaming cardinal was joined at the altar by two dozen Fordham University priest concelebrants, including Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, and Thomas Slon, S.J., who represented the New York Province of the Society of Jesus.
The cardinal paid tribute to Fordham founder Archbishop John Hughes, the first bishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan, who wears the pectoral cross of his colorful predecessor, said the university and the archdiocese collaborate in a common mandate to “teach all nations.”
Father McShane presented Cardinal Dolan with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for the archbishop’s “steadfast leadership and unflagging commitment to his flock.” Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn, vice president for University Mission and Ministry University, read the citation, recognizing the Cardinal for his gregarious nature, insistence that expressions of Catholic faith should be exuberant rather than austere and for his firm defense of Church doctrine in the face of public policy.
During the presentation, Cardinal Dolan was flanked by Msgr. Thomas Shelley, his faculty sponsor, and John N. Tognino, outgoing chair of the Fordham University Board of Trustees.
Members of the university carpenters staff, led by Victor Birone, presented the cardinal with a hand-carved wooden crozier.
Cardinal Dolan responded to a protracted standing ovation with levity and gratitude. He said he just finished paying the tuition for the doctorate he earned thirty years ago from Catholic University, “so it’s good to have a free one.” He added, “I’ll think of you every time I say Mass with my new crosier.”
He gave a special blessing for the graduates, and asked that they “trust in the Lord and do not be afraid.”
In a reflection after the Mass, Matthew Cuff, FCRH ’12 challenged his classmates to spend their lives in the faith, service and leadership they honed at Fordham. “We are students who aspire not to have more, but to do more,” he said.
Cardinal Dolan with the Fordham carpenters and the crozier they made for him.
From L to R: Michael Raucci, Farid Abid, Daniel Reilly, Victor Birone, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Karl Mitchell, and Jaime Sanchez. Photo by Michael Dames
Watch an excerpt from the Baccalaureate Mass here:
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,100 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College in the United Kingdom. 05/12