Category: Archive

Egan becomes a cardinal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Pierce O’Reilly More than 20,000 pilgrims and tourists stood for hours in sunbathed St. Peter’s Square, Rome, last week for the two-hour installation of 43 new cardinals to the Catholic Church. The ritual that combined pageantry and tradition for the bishops from 27 different countries was watched all over the world. Pilgrims stood in awe as 68-year-old Archbishop Edward Egan of New York bowed before Pope John Paul II to receive his new biretta (red hat) and zucchetto (skull cap). Egan, who said afterward that he was excited to be honored in such a manner, succeeds the late John Cardinal O’Connor to become the seventh cardinal archbishop of New York. The official conferring of the title came when the pope called out Egan’s name midway through the ceremony. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., born and raised on the upper West Side of Manhattan, and the Rev. Avery Dulles, a theologian at Fordham and at 82 the oldest new cardinal, were also crowned with new hats a short time later. The new cardinals, who are under 80, will be allowed to vote in papal elections and most of them will take up prestigious positions on the Vatican councils or commissions. Egan was a priest in Rome until 1985 when the pope appointed him auxiliary bishop to Cardinal O’Connor. He soon found his niche in the archdiocese as the head of education. He was moved to Connecticut three years later, where he served as bishop of Bridgeport for 12 years before being elevated to succeed O’Connor after his death from cancer last year. Cardinal Egan studied philosophy at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. He was sent to Rome to complete his seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in the Vatican City. In 1958, he received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and after ordination in Rome, he returned to the United States in 1958 where he served briefly as a curate at Holy Name Cathedral Parish and later as assistant chancellor for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In 1960, Egan returned to Rome, where he was named assistant vice-rector and repetitor of Moral Theology and Canon Law at the North American College. Pope John Paul II, who is 81 this year, looked frail at the ceremony, using his cane for assistance when ever he moved. As each bishop approached, he placed the biretta on his head, saying, “In praise of God and in the honor of the Apostolic, receive the red hat, the sign of the cardinal’s dignity. For you must be ready to conduct yourself with fortitude, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquillity of the people of God and for the Kingdom of heaven and for the Holy Roman Church.”

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