New York Archbishop and Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan is in Rome, where he will spend the week before being elevated to cardinal at the Vatican on Saturday.
NY1 had the only television camera aboard the archbishop's flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday night.
Dolan is not exactly surprised by his elevation to cardinal, as for the last 110 years every archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has been made a cardinal.
"I never like talking about it but I think my family knew, as did I, that sooner or later I'd be a cardinal. Not because of me, I'm a nobody, but because I'm archbishop of New York, and the archbishop of New York almost always becomes a cardinal," said the archbishop.
Yet Dolan said he never aspired to the role.
"We're supposed to be humble and not supposed to have any ambitions, and really the only ambition I got in life was to love God and to love other people and, with God's grace and mercy, to get to Heaven. But I did have the ambition to be a priest, and I thought that would be enough for me," said Dolan. "I always wanted to be just a priest, a pastor of a parish. To me that's the most noble vocation. And so anything more is gravy, anything more is good sugo [pasta sauce] on the pasta, but I like sugo, I like gravy. So I was happy about it."
Dolan will be among the dozens of men who elect the next pope, as all cardinals under the age of 80 are eligible to vote.
Worshippers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown said on Sunday that Dolan is up to the task.
"He's got a great presence with the people, he seems to be very interested in his community," said one Mass attendee. "I think he's a great man."
"I think it's very significant to have American cardinals, and he's a good representative of the American Catholic Church, and I think that he'll be a fine cardinal," said another.
"He's going to be a role model for our community, for our faith and for the church and make really important decisions," said a third.
A total of 22 clergymen, including Dolan, are being elevated to cardinal at an official ceremony at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, which NY1 will broadcast live.
NY1 has a crew traveling with Dolan and will have extensive coverage from Rome all week long.