Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan Celebrates Mass for Staff and Detainees at the Eric M. Taylor Center

| 04/6/2023

By: Steven Schwankert

Cardinal Dolan offered a special blessing of Sister Margaret McCabe, who has served the officers and incarcerated on Rikers Island for 36 years

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (standing, right) delivers a homily to staff and detainees at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island, April 5, 2023.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan (standing, right) delivers a homily to staff and detainees at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island, April 5, 2023. Photo courtesy of the New York City Department of Correction.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday visited the Eric M. Taylor Center (EMTC) on Rikers Island to perform Mass for people in custody and staff.

When I was in prison, did you visit me?” Cardinal Dolan said, referring to Matthew 25:36. “I’ll say, ‘check the videotape, I was there on April 5, 2023,'” he joked with the staff and incarcerated people in attendance for Mass.

Cardinal Dolan is a regular visitor to correctional institutions in the Archdiocese of New York, having begun Lent with an Ash Wednesday trip to the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon.

At the end of Mass offered for both staff and some being held in custody, the cardinal took time out to offer a special blessing for Sister Margaret McCabe, now in her 36th year of service at Rikers Island.

“[The incarcerated] are looking for somebody who cares, someone who listens, someone who can offer acceptance,” said Sister Margaret of her role in an interview with The Good Newsroom. Sister Margaret serves male, female, and elderly inmates at Rikers Island. “[Working here] has made me more compassionate. It has made me thankful for my parenting. It has made me grateful for my good health,” Sister Margaret said of her experience there.

“It’s most important to remember that the people here are human beings,” said Father Zach Presutti, SJ, who concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Dolan. “They are much more than the worst thing they’ve ever done,” Fr. Presutti said in an interview with The Good Newsroom. He is the founder of Thrive for Life, a prison project that mentors incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals on their journey to re-entry into society. The Archdiocese of New York supports Thrive for Life’s work in the area.

“Connecting people in custody to services and programming, including faith-based programming, is critical to the work that Commissioner Molina and his dedicated staff do every day,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in a statement. “I want to thank Cardinal Dolan for visiting Rikers Island and performing mass for staff and detainees this Holy Week, providing people an important opportunity to connect with their faith and spirituality.”

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