MIDTOWN — After celebrating Mass with newly minted Cardinal Timothy Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Ash Wednesday, New Yorkers said they planned to give up a variety of naughty habits for Lent — including cursing and gossiping.
Dolan said he spoke to Cardinals in Rome about the heart of New York City on the trip, during which he was elevated to the senior church rank.
"I know New York has a reputation for being kind of a materialistic, secularist city, but I said, 'You take it from me, there's a soul in New York and the place is alive,'" Dolan said. "If you have any doubt come to St. Patrick's Cathedral on Ash Wednesday."
Churchgoers said they were still making up their mind about what to give up for Lent.
"I was thinking about giving up cursing," said Upper West Side resident Jennifer Long, 39. "I do curse a lot, like most New Yorkers. This is going to be tough."
Long said she made the same resolution last year, but only made it about an hour.
"I got a call from work and let loose an expletive."
Another parishioner said he was going to focus on others.
"I'm going to try to do positive things instead of giving something up," said John Joplin, 66, who lives in Connecticut. Specifically, he said he would try to be a better neighbor and be kind to his employees.
Long Island Resident Lauren Smith, 30, also said she was going to try to be nicer to others.
"I'm going to stop talking about people behind their backs," Smith said
"That's good," said a friend who accompanied her to the cathedral.
With spring right around the corner, Dolan's mind appeared to be on the baseball diamond.
"Lent is spiritual spring training. We get the flab out. We get the sins out. We concentrate on the essentials of prayer, penance and works of charity," said Dolan.
"Our fight is not against the Red Sox or the Cardinals or anybody else, it's against Satan and selfishness."