5/11/12 | 1006 views
Cardinal Goes to ‘Town’ With Listeners and ‘Tweets’ on Sirius XM
Twenty lucky listeners of Sirius XM satellite radio each won a chance to ask Cardinal Dolan what was on their mind in a Town Hall broadcast that turned out to be a win-win situation for the interviewers and the interviewee.
“It was a natural exchange. I don’t know how many other bishops would do it,” Lynn Mary Wilson of Huntington told CNY immediately after the two-hour live show on The Catholic Channel on the evening of May 8.
“To field questions like that, on the fly, is a little intimidating,” said Ms. Wilson, an employee of Sadlier Publishing Company in Manhattan.
If Cardinal Dolan was even the least bit intimidated, he never let it show. He answered every question with typical candor, good humor and faith-filled conviction—and even managed to bring his communications outreach to a new level, sending out his first two “tweets” on Twitter during the broadcast.
Not surprisingly, many queries dealt with the cardinal’s responsibilities as a religious leader. Audience members were, to a person, respectful of the cardinal and very happy to be in his presence. They asked about everything from the future of the Catholic school system to fostering a culture of vocations to the biggest surprise the cardinal has encountered since arriving in New York three years ago.
Not all the questions were so weighty, as it were. Food and drink also were popular topics, with one audience member asking what flavor of gelato the cardinal would be if he were a bowl of the creamy Italian dessert, and another wondering about his favorite brand of beer. For the record, his answers were: misto, or a mixture, and Budweiser, the logical choice of a native son of St. Louis, the hometown of Anheuser-Busch.
There were several special surprise guests. Matt Lauer, the co-host of NBC’s “The Today Show,” dropped by the studio. Former New York Yankees and Mets manager Joe Torre and Cardinal Dolan’s mother, Shirley, joined the program by phone.
The chat with Lauer recalled previous occasions when Cardinal Dolan and the television host have been in each other’s company. One time was last year’s “Today Show” visit to the Vatican, and both reminisced about their tours there together.
Lauer also mentioned a dinner he and the cardinal shared on that trip shortly after their audience with the Holy Father. Guests, including members of the staffs of both men, were arranged at long tables in the back of the restaurant. The cardinal delivered grace before the meal.
“It was something I’ll probably never forget,” Lauer said.
Cardinal Dolan brought up his visit to “Today” studios in Rockefeller Center, right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, on the morning he was named a cardinal. “That’s how close I feel to you and the ‘Today’ show,” he told Lauer.
The cardinal easily stayed with the flow of the broadcast, moderated by Father Jonathan Morris, program director of The Catholic Channel, and Tim Farley, program director and host of P.O.T.U.S., a channel dedicated to the Politics of the United States.
The Town Hall show aired lived on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM Ch. 129, and will be repeated Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 13, noon and 10 p.m.
Previous Town Hall subjects have included Bruce Springsteen and Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the Duke University men’s basketball team.
About 1,000 subscribers responded when Sirius XM sent out its request to join Cardinal Dolan. Most of those selected were from the New York metropolitan area, but several journeyed from long distances to be there. Listeners from Virginia, Ohio and even one from the West Coast joined Cardinal Dolan in the glass-enclosed studio at the company’s headquarters on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Each was permitted to bring a guest, who could watch the broadcast in seats outside the studio.
“It was wonderful to get the opportunity to meet him,” said Vince Mercurio of Bend, Ore., as he waited in line with his wife, Diane, to greet Cardinal Dolan after the show.
Browse our archive of photos