WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan commended Archbishop Stepinac High School for its upstanding students and technological innovation during his visit on Wednesday.
Dolan, the Archbishop of New York who was identified as a close contender during the last papal conclave in March, visited the school to say Mass, meet students and faculty, answer questions and tour the new technology center.
"Our board and the entire Stepinac community appreciate not only his visit, but the opportunity to show the Cardinal firsthand how Stepinac has transitioned to a 21st century education model while retaining our deep commitment to our faith," William F. Plunkett Jr., chairman of the Stepinac Board of Trustees, said.
Some of Westchester's dignitaries were also present, including County Executive Rob Astorino, Deputy County Executive Kevin J. Plunkett and White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach.
In his homily, Dolan told the 700 students, faculty and staff the story of Cardinal Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, a Croatian cardinal who maintained his Catholic faith in the face of the Nazi and Communist regimes.
He praised the school for continuing Stepinac's legacy with its commitment to service and religious lifestyle.
As part of the mass, he blessed over 700 rosaries for each member of the Stepinac community. Later, he answered questions from students about his religious journey and duties as Archbishop.
Dolan concluded his visit by touring the school's tech center, which has helped make Stepinac the first high school in the United States with a complete online textbook library.
"It sends a message to the community that although Stepinac has a time-honored tradition," Mayor Roach said of Dolan's visit. "It is committed to moving forward every day."
The school presented Dolan with several gifts, including a painting to hang in the school in his honor, a Stepinac hat and sweatshirt, and a memorial tree planted in his honor.
Dolan returned the favor by saying he would grant the students a day off in the near future, which elicited a loud round of applause.