By Sarah Tan
MIDTOWN — Newly minted Cardinal Timothy Dolan doffed his red hat for New Yorkers during a morning prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral Saturday, following his recent elevation by the pope to the rank of cardinal.
The leader of the Archdiocese of New York, speaking in front of packed house that included Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, praised the city's diversity in a speech that had attendees both applauding and laughing.
During Dolan's down-to-earth delivery, he proclaimed his red cardinal hat was "for all of New York," and that Pope Benedict XVI appointing him cardinal last week was like "placing a red hat on the Statue of Liberty."
"A morning like this showcases New York at its best," he said. "People from all backgrounds and boroughs coming together to share a moment of joy with a man who only three years ago was a rookie."
Dolan joked that since his elevation, New Yorkers have approached him to ask if they could pose for a picture with the cardinal, and how a homeless man wondered why Dolan didn't have more to hand out following his appointment.
"I say to you New Yorkers today — you are the real princes," he said. "I come from a town in St. Louis that boasts, 'This Bud's for You.' But I say to you this morning, New York, that this hat’s for you... I’m proud to call you 'Your Eminence.'"
Churchgoer Joan Morris, 73, of Queens, came to St. Patrick's Saturday morning to see the newly appointed cardinal with her family.
"I am so fond of him, I think he's wonderful," she said. "He's for the people."
When asked by reportes after the service what he thought about the possibility of one day becoming pope, he dismissed the idea with a chuckle and a nod to the Italian-speaking pontiffs.
"I'm parlo inglese," he joked.