Cardinal Timothy Dolan gets warm welcome at Coleman Catholic High School in Ulster (video)
TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. — Louis Tullo, the principal at John A. Coleman Catholic High School, regards it as a little miracle.
About eight months ago, he invited Archbishop Timothy Dolan to visit the high school on Hurley Avenue, but he was notified Dolan wouldn’t be able to make it until this coming September.
Tullo is retiring in June after 44 years in education.
“That’s why I called back and asked them if they could change it. I don’t know how, but they found a way to make it happen, and I’m happy they did,” Tullo said on Wednesday.
Dolan, who was elevated to cardinal at the Vatican in February, made both Tullo and the student body at Coleman proud as he celebrated Mass in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday morning and later toured the building.
It marked his first visit to Ulster County since he became a cardinal.
“All I know is the word is out in my office, when I get an invitation from any of our wonderful Catholic schools, I want to go,” Dolan said after Mass.
“I also say, ‘You know what? The farther away, the better’ because I live smack dab in the middle of Manhattan.
“I’m so proud that the Archdiocese of New York comes way up north, and I said I want to go way up there because I don’t get to see those wonderful people enough, so here I am,” he said. Continued...
Ulster and Dutchess are the northernmost counties in the archdiocese.
During Dolan’s brief sermon, he told the story of how, years ago, he and his classmates at the Holy Infant School in St. Louis had made fun of a new student, who was French-Canadian.
The boy went on to win a spelling bee and got a gift certificate to a hot dog restaurant, and even after all of heckling from his classmates, he invited them to join him.
Dolan, now 62, likened that to love and forgiveness of Christ “multiplied by infinity.”
“He offered us love. We gave him hate,” Dolan said. “When he conquered sin and rose from the dead, he shared his victory with us.”
During Mass, members of Coleman’s choir performed and Dolan gave credit to the school for its excellence in education and the school’s 15-member board for its “sterling leadership.”
“Wherever I go, I hear the alumni from Coleman say how proud they are of the school,” he said.
The archdiocese formerly operated Coleman but announced in 2001 that it was closing the school. A community fundraising effort saved the school, and it has operated independently ever since.
Several students from nearby Catholic schools attended Wednesday’s Mass at Coleman, as did some local dignitaries. The event was not open to the public.
After Mass, the charismatic Dolan mingled with students and stopped to pose for pictures. Continued...
He even made his way back down a hallway to find and congratulate a couple that just celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Dolan then toured the school, making stops in many classrooms.
Tullo said later in the day that it was, indeed, one for the books at Coleman.
“We’re ecstatic,” he said. “This is a special for the school. ... We’re really happy to have the cardinal come up and see our kids and school and to see what we’ve done in the 11 years since we were privatized.”
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