At St. Patrick’s Cathedral during a Young Adult Mass, Cardinal Dolan spoke about the significance of seeking and maintaining “conversion of heart,” and expressed joy at being able to celebrate Mass with the young adult community as Covid-19 continues to recede.
“Thank you to our Young Adult ministry. I am grateful to be in the company of all of you,” the cardinal told the 400 young adults at the June 2 evening Mass.
Cardinal Dolan, citing the liturgy’s Book of Tobit readings, spoke of the extreme sadness that Sarah felt given what she went through: she married seven times and each husband died the day of each wedding.
The cardinal spoke about Tobit losing his sight. Eventually, Sarah marries Tobit’s son, Tobiah, who lives on after the marriage; and Tobit’s vision is restored (Tobiah’s mother was Anna).
“Both Tobit and Sarah, both of them (early on) are depressed and discouraged,” the cardinal said in his homily. “We all find ourselves every once in a while in very distressful, bewildering, discouraging situations that can cause us to lose hope. And so we need to do what Tobit and Sarah did. They both did two very simple but difficult things: They admitted that they needed help, that they needed God. And they admitted that they were sinners, and that they needed the Lord’s mercy.”
The cardinal said that their transformation stemmed from conversion of heart. “Conversion of heart, which is the core of the preaching of Jesus, as recorded in His gospels, leads us to turn from within to God, and to admit that we are sinners in need of His healing. This is the key, my brothers and sisters.”
In addition, Cardinal Dolan spoke about Mother Teresa once telling inquiring journalists that she needs a change of heart, a conversion of heart. He also noted that the Church is made up of sinners but that the Church itself “is the spotless Bride of Christ.”
The Young Adult evening included several concelebrants and confessors, including Msgr. Joseph LaMorte, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the archdiocese. The Mass was preceded by Adoration and confessions, with praise and worship. The gathering was sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Outreach. Music before and during Mass will be provided by pianist Jonna Scopellito and guitarist Bailey Savoy, both of whom also served as vocalists.
Christopher Armenta, a parishioner of St. Francis de Sales on Manhattan’s upper East Side, was among the Mass attendees. “It was a beautiful opportunity. This is my first time (at a Young Adult Mass),” Armenta told Catholic New York after the liturgy. “I went to confession before Mass, and literally what the cardinal was saying (about conversion of heart) is what I was feeling during confession; it was personal and relevant. You have to admit that you need God, and you have to admit your sins.”
Also attending was Laura R. Feola, a parishioner of St. Paul-St. Agnes in Brooklyn. Ms. Feola, before the Mass began, said that she’d been to many other Young Adult Mass celebrations at the cathedral. She said she keeps returning because “I just need to spend time with our Lord. It’s perfect because they offer confession, Adoration and then Mass.”
Colin Nykaza, director of Young Adult Outreach, in closing remarks, offered words of gratitude. “Your Eminence, thank you so much for being here. We love you so much. It’s always a joy to have you here with us.” His words were greeted with a loud round of applause from the faithful in the pews.
After Mass, many who attended walked to Connolly’s on East 47th Street for a social gathering. Before leaving, they congregated and conversed outside the cathedral, joyful and pleased about the pending gathering at the restaurant amid less restrictive Covid-19 regulations.