New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Thursday praised St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s tight security for thwarting a potential disaster when a man walked in the historic house of worship with canisters filled with gasoline and lighter fluid.
“We’ve got a very well trained interior security staff. We’ve got the constant help of the New York police department who usually has an officer on the block for ready assistance,” Dolan told reporters inside the cathedral a day after authorities arrested 37-year-old Marc Lamparello for the gas incident.
“We’ve got the ready attention of the fire department of New York so it works and last night showed that,” Dolan said.
Dolan said that after Lamparello walked into the Fifth Avenue cathedral at around 7:55 p.m. Wednesday with four gallons of gasoline, light fluid and lighters, “our people were suspicious, walked the man out and immediately called the police department.”
“They apprehended him and now he’s secure,” Dolan said, adding, “So the system works.”
Lamparello remains in police custody at Midtown North and charges were pending.
The New Jersey suspect told authorities that he was cutting through the church to get to Madison Avenue because his minivan had run out of gas — but cops said his vehicle was not out of fuel.
“I’ve been here 10 years and like all New Yorkers you always kind of learn to be safe and secure and I’ve come to trust what we’ve got at St Patrick’s Cathedral,” Dolan said, as he noted “not that we could take anything for granted, not that we could not upgrade it, but last night proves that it works.”
Dolan made the comments after announcing a fundraising effort, alongside billionaire businessman and philanthropist Ken Langone, called “From Saint Patrick’s to Notre Dame” to benefit Paris’ fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral.
Dolan called the fundraising campaign “a way for people from New York and beyond to help rebuild the magnificent house of faith and monument to civilization in Notre Dame.”
All donations from the “From Saint Patrick’s to Notre Dame” campaign will be sent to Archbishop Michael Aupetit, the Archbishop of Paris, to assist with the restoration of the 850-year-old cathedral, which went up in flames Monday.