Cardinal Dolan Visits St. Martin of Tours Parish, Dedicates New Healing Grotto
By: Steven Schwankert
The stone grotto has holy water fountains on two sides, and an area where visitors may write the “knots” in their lives on ribbons as they ask Mary to “untie” them
Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrated the evening vigil Mass and blessed a new healing grotto at St. Martin of Tours parish in The Bronx on Saturday, February 10.
Before the Mass, Cardinal Dolan blessed the parish’s new Grotto of Healing of Mary Undoer of Knots, a Marian representation of a 1700 painting of Mary by German artist Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner. Featuring a statue of Mary reminiscent of the painting, the stone grotto has holy water fountains on two sides, and an area where visitors may write the “knots,” or difficulties in their lives on ribbons, and then tie them to rails as they ask Mary to “untie” or resolve them.
The liturgy was said primarily in Spanish. Cardinal Dolan asked for the faithful’s forgiveness so that he could offer his homily in English.
Cardinal Dolan discussed knots in his homily, whether they be physical “knots,” as in cases of leprosy mentioned in the gospel, and the “leprosy” of the heart that sin causes.
“He began to see his life which he thought was strong was filled with selfishness. Was filled with sin. Was filled with knots. And St. Martin turned to Jesus to heal him inside and untie those knots, and Jesus did,” Cardinal Dolan said.
He reminded the faithful that the coming of Lent was an appropriate occasion for self-examination and self-reflection. “This is a good time to let Jesus and Mary know of the knots that are in our heart and soul. Yes our body, yes our mind, but our heart and soul as well, when Jesus will untie knots.”
At the end of Mass, Father Jose Felix Ortega thanked Cardinal Dolan for visiting and asked two parishioners to present the cardinal, who last week celebrated his 74th birthday, with a gift basket, which led to spontaneous applause and the attendees singing “Happy Birthday” in both English and Spanish.
After Mass, Cardinal Dolan remained to greet the approximately 400 attendees, blessing children and others who came forward.
The Mass was concelebrated by Father Jose Felix Ortega and Father Fredy Patiño.
St. Martin of Tours was founded in 1897. In December 2017 and January 2018, it was at the center of relief efforts for residents of a nearby apartment building damaged by fire. That blaze killed 13 people and injured 14 more.
St. Martin de (of) Tours was a fourth-century Roman soldier from Hungary, who later converted to Christianity and became a bishop in the early Church.