In the closing gathering of the archdiocesan Holy Hour monthly series, Cardinal Dolan focused on the sacred significance of silent prayer, silent adoration and silence itself.
“I want to talk about the importance of silence; silence,” said Cardinal Dolan during the last of the livestreamed Holy Hours, offered March 4 at St. Raymond Church in the Bronx.
“We appreciate the meaning, the significance of silence,” he continued with a whisper in the quietude of the church.
Amid the noise of the world, he said, “Jesus is always inviting us to silence.”
He went on to speak about a time when Padre Pio (St. Pio of Pietrelcina) told a little boy that the prayer language “that God understands most is silence; silence….The Bible tells us: ‘be still, and know that I am God.’ It is the moments of silence that we can most detect God’s presence, and that’s what we’re doing now. We have the Real Presence of the Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life; the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, there you see, the sacred host in the middle of the monstrance there.”
The cardinal recalled playing catch with his dad, often in silence, when growing up in his native Missouri. He also mentioned an elderly widower long ago missing the silent moments he shared at a nursing home while visiting his wife, who could not speak because of her illness.
“He was simply going to miss her presence, just the fact that she was there; he was going to miss her company in those hours of silence,” the cardinal recalled.
Cardinal Dolan also spoke about the current Year of St. Joseph, and its patron.
“He was a man of silence, and yet without him God’s plan could not have been revealed and implemented as it was,” the cardinal said. He noted that the Church’s popes and saints have often talked about the importance, the sacredness of silence. The cardinal noted the times when Jesus cast out demons from people by demanding that the demons: be quiet; be silent.
About 60 students from St. Raymond High School for Boys attended the Holy Hour inside the church. A total of 100 people attended, including staff and administrators. The yearlong series, sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Adult Faith Formation, began in March 2020, first offered at St. John the Evangelist in Manhattan and then at a different parish church each month.
Adrian Villarama, 17, a senior at St. Raymond High School, was among the students who attended the closing Holy Hour. “It was very enlightening, very eye-opening,” Villarama later told CNY of the cardinal’s message about silence.
“It made me think about trying to listen to God overall...In this challenging time that we’re in right now, it’s really easy for people to lose their faith in God. But through these Holy Hours we were able to increase our faith through silence and meditation, and just being in God’s presence and growing closer to Him.”
Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez, director of Adult Faith Formation, said in a statement, “What a prayerful year it has been. We have been praying for an increase in our faith and a renewal of our prayer life for a full year now through our monthly Holy Hours. With so many changes in our world during this last year, it is a blessing to know we can count on our Lord.”
Mrs. Gonzalez added her thanks to the cardinal “for being such a great shepherd and gifting us this initiative, and to our wonderful auxiliary bishops who have led us in these monthly prayers.”
The concelebrants at the last Holy Hour included Father James Cruz, pastor of St. Raymond’s; Father Kevin Malick, parochial vicar; Father Luis Silva, school chaplain; and Father Stephen Ries, the cardinal’s priest secretary.
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