This afternoon some 300 or 400 diocesan and religious priests gathered at St. Joseph's Seminary for an informal meeting with our new shepherd, Abp. Tim Dolan. It was a little hard for me to estimate how many came since I'd grabbed a seat in the front row (with my camera)--but many of those present remarked on the low attendance.
The archbishop is as friendly as we've been reading in the press, eager to get to know those he calls his "brother priests." And they're responding very positively to him.
He expressed his appreciation for the many people who've made him so very welcome in New York--and he listed a lot of them, some by categories, some by name (e.g., the auxiliary bishops, the chancellor, and others). This meeting was for the presbyterate to get to know him, and vice versa.
He told the priests in some detail what we can expect of him, he named very briefly a long list of challenges the Church faces, and reminded us of the importance of being grounded in Jesus Christ and preaching Jesus Christ.
During his initial remarks he quoted both Don Bosco and St. Francis de Sales: on priesthood and the centrality of Jesus, respectively.
Then he took questions and listened to comments. Those covered such matters as evangelization, planning, Catholic schools, CCD, priests' retreats, worthiness for receiving Holy C0mmunion, the archbishop's availability to his priests.
At the end Archbishop Tim had a private moment with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, with whom he evidently has a well established and respectful relationship.