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Rector Enrique Salvo celebrates 2 years at San Patricio

In this first interview with Father Enrique Salvo, the rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, he talks about his work with the more than six million faithful who attend the church.

Jennifer Elizabeth Terranova-November 15, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes
Saint Patrick's

Façade of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City

Father Enrique Salvo, rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

On November 15, two years ago, Father Enrique Salvo became the rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Omnes had a chance to sit down with Rector Salvo, who graciously took time out of his day to discuss what his rectorship has been like for the past two years, and to share the joys of being a rector.

Beautiful Surprises

Father Salvo shared a few surprises about being the rector of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. For one, "...being the rector is surprising itself... and it's been an adventure, a really joyful adventure." 

Father Salvo shared a few surprises about being the rector of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. For one, "...being the rector is surprising itself... and it's been an adventure, a really joyful adventure." Saint Patrick's Cathedral welcomes six million people a year from all over the world, which he was well aware of. And because of the multitude of people who now attend the online Masses and his YouTube devotees who eagerly await his weekly or sometimes bi-weekly channel and the increase in virtual parishioners who tune in, Father Salvo said, "It was beautiful and surprising to realize that the role as rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral...would allow having to minister to so many people around the world." In addition, he thinks about the benefits of the outreach. For example, every Sunday, unless there is a short pause, Father Salvo offers educational, inspiring, and motivating content on Saint Patrick's YouTube channel, which also has a Spanish version. It’s no surprise that the channel is gaining traction and growing.

Moreover, he said he recognizes the blessing of seeing so many important and well-known Catholic figures in the Catholic world who come through Saint Patrick's Cathedral, so he aspires to get more interviews with some of them. "We are trying to take advantage of that, in a good way, to be able to host them and interview them" on their upcoming series "Conversations from Saint Patrick's Cathedral," which will involve Father Salvo and prominent Catholic speakers discussing various things. He is focused on bringing people to Christ and is wise to capitalize on the benefits of social media when it comes to evangelizing.

For example, when Sister Briege McKenna and Father Pablo Escriva De Romani spoke at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, it garnered over 75,000 viewers, of which they are aware. Father Mike Schmitz's Mass and talk was an enormous success. "One of our main jobs as priests, as servants of the Church, and as disciples is to preach and to evangelize, and so what a powerful way to evangelize to so many people," said Father Salvo.

The Church is alive

Father Salvo shared what he likes most about being a rector: "In this beautiful and spiritually powerful place that is Saint Patrick's Cathedral, to have the opportunity to be part, and even innovate so many ways to bring the faith to the people." He acknowledges that it can get "busy and overwhelming, but there's never a dull moment; every week is filled with at least one great celebration."

He also spoke of what he calls a consequence that he loves, which is not necessarily specific to his job, but "one beautiful thing that I love is to be able to see the Church at large, and to see how alive it really is."

He said that he has never adopted a negative posture of the state of the Church but understands that "we have to be realistic that it's never as good as it can be when it comes to attendance and excitement for the faith…but right now, I'm the opposite; I've always been positive, but now even more positive… about the reality about how truly the faith is alive."

Father Salvo shares his sentiments with others and realizes that it might not be the case everywhere and not all parishes may be as well-attended; however, "my reality here at Saint Patrick's Cathedral that is, aside from the six million people that walk through the doors and tune in to everything that we produce, are people from all walks of life, from all age groups, from all races and nationalities, from all types of circumstances…" And most of these people, he noted, come "sincerely to pray, to worship God, to receive the sacraments, and to take part of the celebrations of the Church."

I thank God for the privilege

Anyone who has ever been to Saint Patrick's Cathedral knows it is a sight to behold. Father Salvo spoke of how the visitors are in "awe" of the majestic Cathedral and "are excited to be here." He said, "They come to bring their problems and their issues to the Lord…" One cannot be discouraged after seeing all that, "from the greatest of celebrations of the year to the average day of witnessing the people walking through the doors is inspiring to see..." He happily acknowledges that "For most people, there is still faith, and the importance of the faith," which is not unique to special Masses or events; it's "every single day of the year."

He also spoke of the advantage point of being a rector of what he says is "such a special place, that is Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and it is such a privilege and one that I thank God for." He said, "My conclusion is that the Church is very much alive, which should inspire us to keep on going." He views things from a positive and encouraging lens. He said if we continue to see the bad news, the discouraging numbers that "deflates us."

This is part one of my interview with Rector Enrique Salvo. Look out for part two and three soon.

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