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Pelham Rev. Joyful Dolan Was Elevated to Cardinal

PELHAM, N.Y. – Pope Benedict XVI named New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan a cardinal on Thursday, and a local priest was elated upon hearing about Dolan’s elevation.

“Very, very good,” said Rev. Peter Bannan of St. Catharine’s Church. “I woke up and put it on [WCBS Newsradio] 88 that Archbishop Dolan was going to be the cardinal. The first words out of my mouth were, 'great news.' He’s a good man.”

Bannan said the appointment is an honor for New York and the thousands of Roman Catholics who live in the state.

“This is an honor for him and it’s also an honor for the whole Church of New York,” Bannan said. “We’re thinking that the parishioners will be happy.”

Bannan has met with Dolan on several occasions and believes that the pope made the right choice. He is certain that Dolan and the priests from this Archdiocese have a great relationship.

“I think that most of the priests in the Archdiocese that I know would say that he is a very, very good bishop,” said Bannan. “I think the priests are very happy with him and I think he’s happy with us.”

Cardinals are the pope’s main consultants and they are tasked with electing Pope Benedict XVI’s eventual replacement. Dolan will join Edward Cardinal Egan as the second cardinal of New York when he is sworn in at the Vatican on Feb. 18 in a ceremony known as a consistory.

“I don’t know if there’s really a lot of significance to that,” Bannan said of there being two cardinals in New York. “Cardinal Egan is retired and so he really doesn’t have an official role to play in the Archdiocese. Although, I think Cardinal Dolan likes having him around and I think they’re friends.”

Bannan spoke of Dolan, a St. Louis native, as though he were a lifelong friend. The 61-year-old Dolan was appointed archbishop of New York in 2009.

“Very happy – very happy for him,” said Bannan. “I’m very happy for New York. I’m very happy for priests in New York and the members of the parishes. It’s a glad thing. It’s good news.”

When asked what the best part about Dolan was, Bannan was quick to point out the soon-to-be cardinal’s best quality.

“He’s a people person,” said Bannan. “He loves people. Loves to be around people. He’s gregarious – slap you on the back.”

The reverend was most impressed by Dolan and started looking up to him after a phone call he received during a tough time.

“He’ll call you up if you’re in the hospital,” said an elated Bannan. “I was in the hospital for knee surgery back in August. He called me. Wondered how I was doing.”

It turns out that Dolan does not stop there either. “Call you on your anniversary of ordination. Calls you up and wishes you a happy anniversary. Calls you on your birthday," Bannan said. "He’s a good guy – he’s a good father figure.”

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