Rosh Hashanah Blessings from Cardinal Timothy Dolan

| 09/15/2023

By: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

September 15, 2023

We all know Yogi Berra was a great baseball player. I contend he was also quite a theologian! Consider his comment: “I don’t like football. When you lose, ya gotta wait a week to come back. Gimme baseball any day. When ya lose, all ya gotta do is come back the next day.”

Yogi’s “spirituality” comes to mind as our Jewish neighbors celebrate Rosh Hashanah, their New Year. They remind us that God has revealed Himself to them – – and therefore to us – – as a “Lord of second chances.” Our God loves new beginnings, fresh starts, occasions when we take a deep breath and try it all again.

My Rabbi friends tell me that Rosh Hashanah prayer and meditation is often about memories and dreams. No surprise there. Scholars of human nature observe how those two exercises, remembering and dreaming, are defining characteristics of the human person. So, our Jewish friends remember with gratitude the year past, and then dream and make resolutions for the incoming one, always praising God for the memories and seeking His help for dreams of the future. How wise of the Jews to consider New Year’s Day as a holy one!

And how liberating and encouraging that we believe in a God who ever urges us to begin anew, never to give up. He’ll always embrace us, forgive us, take us back, and give us a tomorrow. 

As a parish priest, I worked with a man with a vicious addiction to alcohol. He’d do so well for a while . . . then came the gutter. I so admired his supportive wife. While hardly a pushover, her love for him always led to forgiveness. After one terrible drunken couple of weeks, I figured she’d finally throw him out. I’d sure have understood if she did! When I visited him in recovery, he was so earnest and eager for a program of sobriety. “Are you doing this because Jill has kicked you out?” “No,” he replied with tears, “I’m actually doing it ’cause she took me back.”

It sure makes sense to this “gentile” that the grand “Day of Atonement” follows Rosh Hashanah. On Yom Kippur, if I have it right, our Jewish friends repent of past sins (memory), and resolve to turn from sin to virtue (dreams).

Their confidence in a Lord of fresh starts allows them to do so. Wonder no more as to the legendary resilience of the Jews.

As their wisdom literature hints to us, “The rising of the sun each morning, as the birth of every baby, reminds us that the Lord is not quite ever done with us.”

Thanks! I needed that!

Rosh Hashanah blessings!

  †Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan

   Archbishop of New York

The Holy See's secretary for relations with states and international organizations thanked Catholic diplomats for their support at the UN.


Steven Schwankert

On Friday, September 22nd, Theatre 71 on the Upper West Side (underneath the Blessed Sacrament Church) presented Playwrights Festival, an exciting evening of six original plays written by Catholic writers about journeying in the world by our faith as Catholics.


The Good Newsroom

You can watch Cardinal Dolan's homily from this morning's Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral here.


Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

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