Bob Dolan talks about his famous brother in book Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
Bob Dolan shares a copy of his book on the life of his brother, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, with Margie Blau of Waunakee. (Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)

MADISON -- His brother knew he wanted to be a priest at a very early age.

Bob Dolan recalls, “At age five, Tim visited our grandparents. At Mass Tim was fixated on the priest.”

After Mass, Tim told his grandma, “I want to be him (pointing to the priest). He never wavered in his vocation.”

Bob’s brother became Father Dolan, then Bishop Dolan, then Archbishop Dolan. Now he will be a cardinal.

His brother the cardinal

How does he feel about the elevation of his brother, Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan?

In a talk at the Relevant Radio Business Association gathering on January 10 at the Bishop O’Connor Center, Bob Dolan said, “It’s been exciting. We’re all very humbled and grateful.

“It’s an odd feeling to know the brother you played wiffle ball with at age 10 is going to be a cardinal!”

Bob said his brother is “one of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet.” He said, “He genuinely loves and cares about people.”

Decided to write a book

Bob Dolan has been a media professional for over three decades, working as a television sportscaster, play-by-play man, radio talk-show host, and newspaper columnist. He now runs Dolan Productions, LLC, a video production company.

Bob and his wife, Beth, are members of St. Jerome Parish, Oconomowoc. They have two daughters, Erin and Caitlin.

Despite all his media work, Bob had never written a book. “I’ve always wanted to write a book and I was looking for a topic.”

After his brother was appointed to head the Archdiocese of New York in 2009, Bob said “the timing was perfect.”

“I told my brother, ‘I think I need to write a book about you.’ He said, ‘Go ahead and write the book.’”

Bob started writing the book, Life Lessons from My Life with My Brother, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, and sent his brother chapters. “I never heard back from him until the book was printed. He then told me, ‘I read the book and really like it.’”

Family anecdotes

Bob said he had two main reasons for writing this book. “Who else could give behind-the-scenes stories and family anecdotes? This gives people a better picture of who he is.”

The book is full of anecdotes from Dolan family life in Ballwin, Mo., as well as stories from the archbishop’s time in Milwaukee, where he became especially close to Bob and his family.

Bob said his family grew up in a typical small town. His parents were “good Irish Catholics,” who sacrificed to send their kids to Catholic school.

He told about when his brother, Tim, was planning his first Mass after ordination. “He asked my dad what his favorite hymn was. He said, ‘Holy God We Praise Thy Name.’ Tim said, ‘I like that song, too.’ Dad said, ‘I like it because when I hear it, I know Mass is almost over.’”

Brings home his wisdom

“The book also brings home his wisdom,” said Bob. “He’s a great storyteller. It compiles many of his famous stories with a Catholic message.”

He said the book also discusses his brother’s “common-sense approach to the Catholic faith.”

First American pope?

Bob said the most frequent question asked Archbishop Dolan in the last three years is: Will you be the first American pope?

He said his brother doesn’t like to answer this question, but Bob feels he would be a good candidate for the papacy.

“I watched this man for the seven years he was in Milwaukee. I watched him turn the climate around there.

“What better time than now to have such a joyful man at the head of the Church, who so loves the priesthood and loves Jesus Christ, than my brother?”

Bob said he seriously entertains the possibility that his brother might be a future pope. “My wife and I will be at every conclave for the rest of my life, waiting for the white smoke and waiting for someone to walk out.”

Now that his brother has been designated a cardinal, Bob plans to reissue his book with a new title, a new chapter, and photos from the consistory in February.

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