Published on: 2/18/2012

It is official. It is now Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  I am now able to say that I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with a man who is a Cardinal.  And a pleasure it was.

Several years ago the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters, of which I am a member, held a meeting at The Pfister Hotel and now- Cardinal Dolan was invited to say a prayer as we prepared to sit for the luncheon portion of our meeting.  He strode into the Ballroom and there was an almost immediate sense of his presence; he had that 'aura' about him coupled with a big smile and a welcoming demeanor as he went to each table and met those who were seated there.

He made it to the table at which I sat and proceeded to move around and greet each person.  I stood as he made it to me and extended my hand.  He introduced himself and I reciprocated and told him that I was Lutheran but almost wanted to become a Catholic whenever I heard him.  He said I'd be welcome and I jokingly mentioned that 'Martin Luther' thing in our joint histories.  He smiled that big smile of his and said, "Oh, I think we could overlook that if you wanted to attend".

He is now one of the 125 Cardinals who will sit to select the next Pope when that becomes necessary; something that seems as though it might become imminent in the not distant future given the present Pope's health.

I suspect that, should I live long enough, I might be able to say that I once shook the hand of a man who became the Pope.  He has an almost 'sense of inevitability' that surrounds him, and it didn't seem to be something that he had to make sure he was displaying.  It is just a part of the persona.