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White Plains Priest Proud Former Student Dolan Was Named Cardinal

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Rev. Joseph Henchey said he knew the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan was "destined for greatness" when Dolan, then a 20-year-old from St. Louis, first sat down in his Theology of Hope class at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Nearly 40 years later, Henchey, who leads weekend services at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in White Plains, said he's proud that Pope Benedict XVI named Dolan a cardinal.

"We’re all proud of Timothy. I was extraordinarily happy because he'll have enormous influence and he’s an extraordinary human being," said Henchey. "Once I met him and saw his superior intellect and his wonderful spirit -- he’s just a happy person -- I knew that he was destined for more than my classroom."

Henchey, 81, recalls Dolan asking a lot of "questions that were hard to answer" and arriving with a robust intuition and intellect. The Boston native said everyone who meets Dolan, 61, knows he's a leader.

"He and I went to the same dentist in Rome. One day I went in and the old man said to me, 'You know when that guy comes in here I don’t need novocaine. He lights up the office,'" Henchey said, recalling a dentist's admiration for Dolan. "If anyone can do it, he can."

Dolan's speeches on hope often include reincarnations of Henchey's lectures, according to Henchey, who now lives at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel rectory.

"You’ll notice he often speaks about hope. So I tell him that he owes me for all that he knows about it. 'What are you talking about?' he said. 'I slept through all of your course,"' said Henchey, who teaches at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. "He's very funny."

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