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Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Why I spoke about gratitude with the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy


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Fox News

Author's note: I recently had the honor of addressing the midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. While I guess I was supposed to inspire them -- and hope I did a bit -- these young women and men inspired me. Of all the many speaking engagements I have enjoyed in my 13 years as Archbishop of New York, the one at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis is near the top.  Here's what I told the Catholic midshipmen and other members of the Academy’s Catholic community last month.

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The first reason for my joy and honor at being here tonight is that I am the grateful and proud son of Robert Matthew Dolan, I am the grateful and proud son of Robert Matthew Dolan, who proudly served his country in the US Navy in the Pacific in 1943-1946, on the USS Cleveland, seeing action in war zones with such names as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Manila, and Tokyo.  While dad was rather humble about his service, as a member of what we now term, "the greatest generation," he cherished his identity and mission as a navy serviceman. 

At times as a boy I could get him to explain his insignia, his diary, the maps, and his yearbook, and every once in a while would he recall with a moist eye and lumped throat, his friends who did not return. Allow me to imagine that dad is beaming, his heavenly reward enhanced, knowing his oldest son is now speaking at the "Vatican" of his beloved navy.

The second reason for my joy and honor at being here this evening is the memory of my esteemed predecessor as Archbishop of New York, John Joseph O’Connor. Yes, he of course treasured his identity as a disciple of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a faithful Catholic, a priest, a bishop; but the title be most relished was not "His Eminence," but "Chaplain," and "Admiral," and the years of service he most savored was as Chaplain here at the Naval Academy.:snip:

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