FUNERAL FOR CARDINAL O'CONNOR
NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - A large congregation of mourners gathered in St. Patrick's
Cathedral Monday afternoon for a Mass of Christian Burial for Cardinal John O'Connor of
New York in a ceremony planned by the cardinal in the months before his death last
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano presided at the Mass with Cardinal
Bernard Law of Boston giving the homily and Cardinal William Baum, the senior American
cardinal at the Vatican, providing a reflection at the end. As Cardinal Law mentioned Cardinal
O'Connor's unwavering pro-life commitment and his constant reminder "that the Church must be
unambiguously pro-life," the congregation stood and applauded for several minutes. Cardinal
Sodano also relayed a message from Pope John Paul II, who remembered the cardinal as "one
of the great bishops and cardinals of modern times."
Among the dignitaries present at the Mass were President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary
Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and his Tipper Gore, former President George Bush and his
son, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, and UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan.
About 5,000 people attended the invitation-only Mass, including the sisters of the religious order
founded by the cardinal, the Sisters of Life, and thousands of Catholics from New York and
beyond gathered outside the cathedral to pay their last respects. Over the weekend, thousands
more endured stifling heat to honor the cardinal, who lay in state before the altar of the
Cardinal O'Connor was born in Philadelphia in 1920, was ordained in 1945, and served as a
US Navy chaplain for 30 years, rising to the rank of rear admiral and being appointed
Archbishop of the US Military Archdiocese. He was named archbishop of New York in 1984
and was elevated to cardinal in 1985. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year and died
after a long illness brought on by complications from the cancer.