WASHINGTON CO. -- The parking lot opened at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 28th at Holy Hill. Cardinal Timothy Dolan's homecoming Mass was not set to begin for another ten hours but officials at the Basilica at Holy Hill knew the crowd was coming.
John Cifaldi said he came at 7 a.m. and was willing to wait in a tent because seeing Dolan simply meant that much to him. Oconomowoc couple Elizabeth and Stu Sigmund said they were moved by Dolan from the time they moved to southeast Wisconsin.
"We're not originally from Milwaukee and when we first came here, he came here as well," Stu said. "We were able to meet him at that point and he was just a real inspiration to both of us."
Knowing the large crowd was coming, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee arranged for two overflow lots - one in another church at the Basilica, and the other in a tent out in the parking lot.
"I think people are grateful for the overflow areas. We really haven't heard anything negative about that," Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said. "I think most folks are just happy that they have the opportunity to come out here knowing these opportunities will be few and far between."
All but about 50 of the people waiting in the tents were able to see the Mass in person. Wolf said the cold, rainy weather likely kept more people from coming early. As for why the Mass was not at a larger church, Wolf said Cardinal Dolan wanted to return to Holy Hill since he worked on its transition to becoming a basilica.