Cardinal Dolan has written an e-book chronicling the time he spent in Rome earlier this year for the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis.
“Praying in Rome: Reflections on the Conclave and Electing Pope Francis,” was published July 9 by Image, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc. of New York.
Among the highlights of the cardinal’s book was how he came to meet then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis.
It happened while the cardinals were gathered for the general congregation meetings that preceded the formal conclave.
“It was a time of prayer, and a time of getting to know one another better in a spirit of fraternal trust and companionship,” Cardinal Dolan writes. “As we began to chat, I could feel the wisdom of the Church’s tradition. It was helpful and enlightening to simply talk with one another. In fact, it was during these general congregations that many of the cardinals got a chance to meet for the first time. Oftentimes, it happened during our 30-minute coffee breaks or in the periods of visiting before and after each session.”
As for Cardinal Dolan’s modus operandi of meeting others: “I have a habit of going up and introducing myself, an American trait I’m told, and it’s a good thing, if you ask me,” he writes. “It’s just the way I was raised.
“So in the congregations, I would go up to the cardinals I didn’t know and say, ‘Hi, my name is Timothy Dolan. I’m from New York.’ And they would usually say, ‘Oh, nice to meet you.’ That’s it. To some of my brother cardinals, I then had to prod, ‘And who are you?’
“But one time, when I was getting settled in my place, a gentleman came around me and announced, confidently but softly, ‘My name is Jorge Bergoglio. I’m from Buenos Aires. And you are Timothy Dolan from New York, and I wanted to meet you.’”
Cardinal Dolan described the future pontiff’s introduction as “refreshing.”
“That was the first time I met him, but I sure had admired him for a long time,” Cardinal Dolan said. “I was fascinated when he spoke during the congregations, as well. So it was good to be able to meet him and get to know him.”
In detailing time spent in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave, the cardinal writes that he had been there many times in his life—he completed his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and served as the college’s rector from 1994 to 2001—but had always hoped for some undistracted time alone there.
“I never thought it would come this way,” he writes of the days spent in the Sistine Chapel for the duty of electing a pope. “I now feel I know that sacred, historic place as well as I know Yankee Stadium.”
Cardinal Dolan is the author of another e-book, “True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty,” published by Image last year.
Both books are available through Amazon. Info: www.ImageCatholicBooks.com.