Category: Archive

Editorial Auspicious ascension

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

After two days of impressive pomp and pageantry at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Edward Egan now embarks on his reign as America’s unofficial — and certainly the most visible — Catholic Church leader. In time-honored tradition, his installation as head of the Archdiocese of New York marks the transition from the leadership of one Irish American to another.

To many in the Irish American, and indeed the wider Catholic community, Archbishop Egan, a native of Oak Park, Ill., is an unknown quantity. But so too was his predecessor, Cardinal John O’Connor, when he arrived from Scranton, Pa., to take over from Cardinal Terence Cooke.

Of course, there will be similarities in the two men’s approach to certain issues, as there must if they are to adhere to Catholic Church doctrine. But, as time passes, observers will also notice differences in style and emphasis.

For Egan, the challenges that lie ahead include dealing with a vast and disparate 2.3-million-member congregation, fostering vocations to the priesthood as well as adapting to ever-changing demographic and cultural changes with their effects on schools and churches. By all reports, Egan, a canon lawyer, seems well suited to the task ahead, having been successful at both nurturing vocations and raising funds in his previous posting, the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

And like O’Connor, he is also a confidante of the Pope John Paul II, who will likely elevate Egan to the College of Cardinals in the coming months. Asked recently by reporters when he thought this might happen, Egan jokingly replied, "My suggestion would be that you contact a man by the name of Karol Wojtyla. He is also known as Pope John Paul II."

As he steps out in the glare of the media spotlight, Archbishop Egan will find that such lightheartedness will serve him well in New York. And as time passes, he will also undoubtedly find himself embroiled in some of the battles O’Connor fought as well as, of course, relishing the celebrations and festivities of a dynamic and colorful community.

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On this auspicious occasion of his ascension to the chair of Cardinal O’Connor, we wish Archbishop Egan the health and strength to perform his most demanding job. We also look forward to him continuing the long tradition of being a part of New York’s great Irish-American community, the members of which were responsible for building the very cathedral from where Archbishop Egan will now preside.

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