Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Remembering Servant of God Cardinal Terence Cooke after 27 years

Cardinal Cooke with Pope John Paul II in Battery Park with the Statue of Liberty in the background, this is one of my favorite images of the Pope and the Great Cardinal!

Cardinal O'Connor blessing the tomb of Cardinal Terence Cooke!

Servant of God Cardinal Terence Cooke you are truly a inspiring man to be Cardinal in NYC, remembering you 27 years later, may you rest in peace!

Terence James Cooke (March 1, 1921 – October 6, 1983) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of New York from 1968 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1969. Early life and education
The youngest of three children, Terence Cooke was born in New York City to Michael and Margaret (née Gannon) Cooke.

His parents were both from County Galway, Ireland, and named their son after Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork who died on a hunger strike during the Irish War of Independence. His father also worked as a chauffeur and construction worker. At age 5, he and his family moved from Morningside Heights, Manhattan, to the northeast Bronx. Following his mother's death in 1930, his aunt helped raise him and his siblings.

Cooke, after expressing an early interest in the priesthood, entered the minor seminary of the Archdiocese of New York in 1934. In 1940, he entered St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers.

Cooke was ordained a priest by Archbishop Francis Spellman on December 1, 1945.[1] He then did pastoral work in the Bronx, and served as a chaplain at St. Agatha’s Home for Children until 1947. He then pursued his graduate studies in social work at the University of Chicago and at the Catholic University of America, from where he obtained a Master's degree in 1949.

From 1949 to 1954, Cooke taught at Fordham University's School of Social Service. He was appointed director of the Youth Division of Catholic Charities and procurator of St. Joseph's Seminary in 1954.

In 1957, he was chosen by Cardinal Spellman to be his secretary, a position in which he remained until 1965. Cooke was named a Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on August 13, 1957, and Vice-Chancellor for the Archdiocese in 1958, rising to full Chancellor in 1961.

On September 15, 1965, Cooke was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Titular Bishop of Summa by Pope Paul VI.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 13 from Cardinal Spellman, with Archbishops Joseph Thomas McGucken and John Joseph Maguire serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[5] He selected as his episcopal motto: Fiat Voluntas Tua, meaning, "Thy Will Be Done" (Luke 1:38).

He played a prominent role in arranging Paul VI's visit to New York in October[3], and became vicar general of the Archdiocese two days after his consecration, on December 15, 1965. He was diagnosed with acute myelomonocytic leukemia, a form of cancer, that year as well.

Archbishop of New York
Following the death of Cardinal Spellman in December 1967, Cooke was named the seventh Archbishop of New York on March 2, 1968.

His appointment came as a surprise; likely contenders for the post included Fulton J. Sheen, a television personality and Bishop of Rochester, and Archbishop Maguire, who had been Spellman's coadjutor but did not hold the right to succession.[3] In addition to his duties in New York, he was named Vicar Apostolic for the U.S. Military on April 4, and was installed in both positions at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

That same day, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, leading to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 100 cities. In response, Cooke went to Harlem to plea for racial peace and later attended King's funeral. He baptized Rory Kennedy.

Cooke helped implement the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the Archdiocese, and adopted a more conciliatory managerial style than his predecessor, Cardinal Spellman.

Servant of God Pope Paul VI created him Cardinal Priest of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (the traditional titular church of the New York archbishops) in the consistory of April 28,1969.

At the time of his elevation, he was the second youngest member of the College of Cardinals after Alfred Bengsch, who was six months younger than Cooke. Cooke was theologically conservative but progressive in secular matters.

During his tenure as Archbishop, he founded nine nursing homes; Birthright, which offers women alternatives to abortion; the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which provides financial aid for inner-city Catholic schools; an Archdiocesan Housing Development Program, providing housing to New York's disadvantaged; and the Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper.

In 1974, he went to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he attended lectures on the Second Vatican Council given by his future successor, Edward Egan. His leukemia was deemed terminal in 1975.

Cooke was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II, respectively. In 1979, he received the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Illness and death
In late August 1983, Cooke revealed his illness to the public; he announced that was expected to live for a few more months, but would not resign his post. He was on almost constant chemotherapy for the last five years of his life.

In an open letter completed only days before his death, he wrote, "The gift of life, God's special gift, is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness or weakness, hunger or poverty, mental or physical handicaps, loneliness or old age."

Cooke died from his battle with leukemia in his episcopal residence, at age 62. He is interred in the crypt under the altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

On April 5, 1984, President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Cardinal Cooke the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1988, he was posthumously awarded the F. Sadlier Dinger Award by William H. Sadlier, Inc. for his outstanding contributions to the ministry of religious education in America.

Cause for Canonization
Cardinal Cooke was widely regarded as a holy person by many New Yorkers during his episcopal ministry as Archbishop of New York, and soon after his death in 1983, a movement to canonize him as a saint began. In 1984, with the support of Cooke's successor, Archbishop (and future Cardinal) John Joseph O'Connor, the Cardinal Cooke Guild was established. In 1992, the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints officially designated Cardinal Cooke as a Servant of God, a first step in the canonization process that leads to beatification and then canonization as a saint. Rev. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, is the postulator for the cause.

Cardinal Cooke’s sainthood cause advances as Archbishop Dolan presents case to Pope

Related articles:•Of Human Life - By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
•Respect Life Mass homily - 2003, Archbishop Chaput
•Of Human Life - Addendum some common questions – By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
Vatican City, Apr 18, 2010 / 12:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Servant of God Cardinal Terence Cooke's cause for sainthood has advanced with the delivery of the relevant documents to the Holy See. Investigations into the life of the much loved former Archbishop of New York have begun the "Roman phase" of his path to canonization.

Following Pope Benedict XVI's general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York visited to greet the pontiff and to deliver documents that could help his predecessor be declared a saint.

Cardinal Cooke, born, raised and ordained in New York City, was consecrated bishop in 1965. From his position of vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York, at the age of 47, he was chosen to succeed Francis Cardinal Spellman as archbishop upon his death in 1967. He also became Military Vicar for the United States.

According to The Cardinal Cooke Guild, during the 14 years Cardinal Cooke spent at the helm of the archdiocese many of the needy were assisted by his initiatives personally. Among the programs founded on his watch were Birthright, Courage and Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper.

Under his direction, the Church cared for 60 percent of the city's abandoned or neglected children.
The Guild describes his extraordinary efforts for the homeless, elderly, marginalized and sick, adding that Cardinal Cooke “never failed to listen to others and to address their needs."

Although it wasn't known publicly, he suffered from leukemia. He was diagnosed during his first year as archbishop. Even up to his death in 1983, he was heard joyfully saying, “Life is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness, weakness, hunger or poverty, physical or mental diseases, loneliness or old age.”

According to the Guild, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, was named Postulator for Cardinal Cooke's cause by John Cardinal O'Connor and in 1992 the cardinal received Servant of God status from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS).

Since then, the cardinal's cause has gone through the "local phase."

The Ambrosi Legal Firm, which is representing the cause in Rome, has described the process.

First, information for in Cardinal Cooke's cause was compiled by the Postulator and given to the local bishop. The information included a biography as well as any of the cardinal’s writings, which must be certified as congruent with Church teaching by two censor theologians.

The information also includes a list of witnesses to the life of the Servant of God. A formal request to introduce the cause was also made.

After receiving the request and documents, the bishop conferred with any other bishops in the region about introducing the cause and invited the cardinal's devotees to present other possible writings which were the also the object of theological review.

With these steps completed, the process began the "Roman phase" with Archbishop Dolan's delivery of the complete documentation in the form of a "positio," a position paper, to the Holy See.

L'Osservatore Romano briefly spoke with the archbishop after he delivered the positio at Wednesday's audience. He said that the figure of the late cardinal remains “very current as a model for bishops and priests."

"Cooke maintained serenity amidst the tempest; he was always close to his people, despite a serious illness. His testimony of strength and truth especially encourages us bishops of today."

The next step in the process, whose duration is impossible to predict, is the revision of documents by the CCS. Upon the conclusion of the review, if Cardinal Cooke is declared to have displayed "heroic virtue" in his life, by Papal decree he will be designated as venerable.

If a miracle is officially attributed to his intervention after much more documentation and investigation, he could then be beatified. At that point, a second recognized miracle would lead to his canonization

The Military Vicariate
For fifteen years Terence Cardinal Cooke served as Military Vicar of the United Sates. Over two million members of our country's military personnel were under his care.

As shepherd to those in the armed services, Cardinal Cooke visited the far corners of the world. Despite public criticism at home, he journeyed to Vietnam to be with the troops on Christmas 1968. Knowing that his flock in New York was well served by his priests and auxiliary bishops Cardinal Cooke felt he was called to be a true father to the young men and women who were far from home, facing danger in the service of their country. Throughout the rest of his life he never wavered in this conviction. Despite failing health, he spent Christmas 1982 with American troops in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon.

Less than a month before his death October 6, 1983, Cardinal Cooke asked that a message from him be delivered to the Military Chaplains' meeting in San Antonio, Texas. It read, in part . . . "Many people do not know, as I have come to know, the special sacrifice you make in bringing the love of Jesus into the lives of so many who reach out to you for help. Sometimes your flock is small and far from home, very young and confused by dramatically changed circumstances which the cause of peace demands of them. For these, your title of Father, assumes a very special significance, a significance not always appreciated in other priestly apostolates." In closing . . . "I rejoice that through, with and of the Eucharistic Christ I am able to serve God's People in the Military Vicariate in sickness as I have in health. I offer my suffering and my prayers for you and for all whom you serve so faithfully."

On April 5, 1984 Cardinal Cooke was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan: "A saintly man a great spiritual leader, Terence Cardinal Cooke inspired his countrymen with his dedication to his Church, devotion to his flock, and service to his country. As the Military Vicar to our Nation's Armed Forces, Cardinal Cooke worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve their country in uniform. As a patriot and national leader, he preached the love of country and championed the cause of human freedom. He will live in the memory of his countrymen as a man of compassion, courage, and personal holiness."

Who was Terence Cardinal Cooke?

Born on March 1st, 1921 in Manhattan, Terence Cooke was the third and youngest child of Irish immigrants. His father was a chauffeur; his mother died when Terence was only nine. The child of a devout family, Terence manifested an interest in the priesthood at an early age. He entered Cathedral College and from there went to St. Joseph’s Seminary. The future Cardinal Archbishop of New York was ordained by Francis Cardinal Spellman on December 1, 1945.

The young priest served as chaplain at Saint Agatha’s Home for Children before going to the Catholic University of America for graduate studies in social work. From there he went to Saint Athanasius Parish. Later he directed the CYO, was procurator of St. Joseph’s Seminary, and secretary to Cardinal Spellman. He then became Chancellor of the Archdiocese and finally Vicar General. He was consecrated bishop in 1965. Barely three years later Cardinal Spellman died, and the world expected him to be succeeded by one of the senior prelates of the Church. Pope Paul VI, however, had other ideas and chose instead a devout, relatively unknown Vicar General. And at the age of forty-seven Terence Cooke found himself Archbishop of New York and Military Vicar for the United States.

His work...

His fourteen years as Cardinal Archbishop were a time of profound transformation. The 1960’s ushered in a period of turbulence and rapid change, and the Church strove to adapt itself to a transforming culture at the same time it was implementing the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican Council. A faithful and loving shepherd, Cardinal Cooke never failed to listen to others and to address their needs. Ever responsive to the challenges of his times he founded:

Birthright, to give women an alternative to abortion,
Courage, to help men and women of homosexual orientation live fulfilling lives in accordance with the teachings of the Church,
The Inner-City Scholarship Fund to support inner-city Catholic Schools, and help children of all races and creeds.
An Archdiocesan Housing Development Program, to provide affordable housing to New York’s disadvantaged,
Catholic New York (the Archdiocesan newspaper), to disseminate the Catholic perspective on world and local events.
Ever concerned with the needs of others, Cardinal Cooke was instrumental in improving care for terminally ill cancer patients. He also coordinated fourteen general and special hospitals under the Department of Health Services of Catholic Charities to better serve the sick and the dying. He maintained a lifelong commitment to Casita Maria, a pioneer youth-oriented service agency for the Puerto Rican community in New York. Catholic Charities programs for the imprisoned, the handicapped and the disadvantaged were initiated by him. No group was forgotten; no one was abandoned.

Terence Cooke had a special love for the aged and the young. During his time as Archbishop construction was completed on nine nursing homes that were affiliated with Catholic Charities.

Kateri Residence
Mary Manning Walsh Home
Ferncliff Nursing Home
Carmel-Richmond Nursing Home
Jeanne Jugan Residence
Providence Rest
Saint Cabrini Nursing
Saint Teresa’s Nursing Home
Saint Joseph’s Nursing Home
Under Cardinal Cooke, the Catholic Church cared for sixty percent of the abandoned and neglected children in New York City. Always an advocate for the young and aware of the growing problem of New York’s homeless and at-risk youth, he strongly supported Covenant House and other institutions that cared for the thousands of teenagers who would otherwise become prey to drug addiction and prostitution.

He particularly enjoyed and supported three movements in the Church in which women had an equal role with men.

The Cursillo Movement

The Christian Family Movement

Charismatic Renewal

His Illness

Diagnosed with cancer in 1965 and considered terminal from 1975 onward, Cardinal Cooke endured surgery and then chemotherapy for years. Despite this he kept to his hectic schedule and gave of himself to all who needed him. Seeing the needs of others as paramount, he prayerfully accepted his own problems as a share in the sufferings of Christ. His Episcopal motto, Fiat Voluntas Tua (Thy will be done), says it all. These words, which proclaim a joyful surrender to the will of God, were never a mere motto to Terence Cooke; they were the bedrock of his profound spirituality and the source of his strength. Although his health continued to worsen, he continued to live life joyfully, fully, and for others, trusting completely in the love of God. When others might have yielded to illness, he simply increased his efforts and presided over an expansion of the Archdiocese that emphasized:

Social services
Until the end Cardinal Cooke struggled for those who could not help themselves: the poor, the young, the elderly, the immigrant and life’s cast-offs. From its inception, he stood at the forefront of the pro-life movement, unwavering in his conviction that life is God’s most beautiful gift. Even in his final days, he could joyfully declare: “Life is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness, weakness, hunger or poverty, physical or mental diseases, loneliness or old age.”

On October 6, 1983, Terence Cardinal Cooke died a holy death in the Cardinal’s residence. The Cathedral of Saint Patrick overflowed with people as he lay in state. Lines of mourners surrounded the Cathedral, waiting to pay their final respects. They came to him in death as he had welcomed them in life: The poor with the rich, the old with the young, the famous with the obscure, those of all faiths and those who proclaimed no faith. Each of the many ethnic communities that make up New York, felt a profound personal loss: The front page of El Diario, New York’s Spanish language newspaper, said it for everyone. “Adios Amigo.”

All these people had little in common, except a need to bid farewell to a beloved priest who had touched their lives. But how had he done it? How had he affected so many? We can only say that he did it by living a life of genuine holiness, by living his life for others. And then we must ask: is that not the definition of a saint?

A Message from the Vice Postulator

Dear Friends:

At the time of his death in 1983, many people in New York and elsewhere felt that Terence Cardinal Cooke was a holy man. In fact, over the years, many people, including the late Pope John Paul II, referred to Cardinal Cooke as "saintly." In the years that have followed, belief in the sanctity of Terence Cooke has grown and been voiced in many different parts of the world. Those who knew him as a priest, bishop and Cardinal Archbishop of New York were uplifted by his gentleness and humility.

In 1984 the Cardinal Cooke Guild was established by Sister M. Aloysius McBride, O. Carm., to tell the story of Cardinal Cooke's faith-filled life and holy death. Father Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, was named Postulator of the Cause of Canonization by John Cardinal O'Connor, and in 1992 Terence Cooke was officially designated Servant of God by the Vatican's Congregation of the Causes of Saints. Today, the Cause of Canonization continues to further document the heroic way in which he lived faith, hope and charity, and indeed, all the virtues.

As Vice Postulator of the Cause in its present stage, I encourage you to learn more about the life and holiness of Terence Cardinal Cooke. At a time when New York and the USA need recent examples of holiness in our midst. I ask you to become a partner in this worthy cause.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Msgr. Joseph R. Giandurco

The Cause for Canonization of Terence Cardinal Cooke is dedicated to showing that Cardinal Cooke lived a life of heroic virtue, and we have recently entered the Roman phase. Currently we are in the process of refining and amplifying materials required by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican. The Tribunal responsible for Cardinal Cooke’s Cause is working diligently to meet the criteria set forth by the Holy See. For further information regarding the process of canonization we recommend: Canonization: Theology, History, Process, edited by William Woestman, OMI Published by the Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University. Ottawa, Canada, 2002 (available on

The Cause for Canonization of Terence Cardinal Cooke includes:

Dr. Avv. Andrea Ambrosi, Roman Postulator
Rev. Msgr. Joseph R. Giandurco, JCD, Vice Postulator

Rev. Msgr. Charles McManus, Episcopal Delegate
Rev. Msgr. John Harrington, Promoter of Justice

Historical Commission
Sr. Marie Magdalena Angerame, OSF
Rev. Terrence L. Weber
Andrew Hartzell, Esq.

Theological Commission
Rev Msgr, Daniel Flynn
Rev. Msgr. Walter F. Kenny

Ann Cicchelli
John Collins
Mrs. Mary Hartzell
Elizabeth Mumm
Margaret Quealy

Ilya Speranza

What can I do to help the Cause for Canonization of Cardinal Cooke?

The answer to that is simple: You can pray. The prayers of many people are needed to advance the Cause to the point when the Servant of God Terence Cardinal Cooke will be named, Venerable, Blessed and finally Saint. We ask you to join your prayers with ours in asking God for the success of the Cause. We ask you to become a member of the Guild, and we ask you to spread the word about the faith-filled life of the humble prince of the Church who touched the lives of countless people.

Prayer for the Canonization of Cardinal Cooke:

Almighty and eternal Father, we thank you for the exemplary life and gentle kindness of your son and bishop, Terence Cooke. If it be your gracious will, grant that the virtues of your servant may be recognized and provide a lasting example for your people. We pray through Our Lord Jesus Christ your son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Founder's Vision

On August 15, 1981 Terence Cardinal Cooke shared with the priests of the archdiocese the convictions which led him to initiate the first official paper of the Archdiocese of New York. He said:

I believe this newspaper will:
* bring the work and message of the Church into the homes of our families in a fresh and interesting way;
* provide a forum for dialogue among our people, so necessary in these times of questioning, searching, misinformation;

* offer background and balance on important religious and theological issues;

* highlight the positive and practical, and often unnoticed, works of charity done by so many priests, religious and lay people in our parishes and institutions;

* become an invaluable educational tool for all of us as we strive to teach and live the Gospel of the Lord Jesus in the Archdiocese of New York.

He concluded by acknowledging the enthusiasm and generosity of spirit that would be evident in the collaboration so essential to "this new venture of Evangelization."

Catholic New York's Role in Evangelization

Catholic New York takes local, national and world events and measures them against the moral and ethical code of the Catholic faith.

Catholic New York presents the experiences of those living the faith...experiences that are clearly perceived as reflecting the Gospel message.

Catholic New York explains Church teaching on moral issues and defines a standard by which to live one's life.

Catholic New York's writers share their thoughts--inviting readers to explore their own attitudes and viewpoints.

Catholic New York focuses attention on events of faith and extends the invitation to participate in activities of the larger Church community.

Cardinal Cooke's Canonization Cause Advances

Archbishop Dolan Delivers "Positio" to Pope

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2010 ( Timothy Dolan of New York was in Rome today to deliver the position paper for the cause of canonization of his predecessor, Cardinal Terence Cooke.

Cardinal Cooke served as the archbishop of New York from 1968 to 1983. Archbishop Dolan delivered the "positio" to Benedict XVI after the weekly general audience.

"Cooke maintained serenity in the face of storms; he was always close to the people, despite his grave illness. His testimony of strength and truth encourages above all the bishops of today," the archbishop said in statements published by L'Osservatore Romano.

The report, which relates the life and virtue of the cardinal, will be submitted to the Congregation for Saints' Causes, where a commission of theologians will study it. The report will then pass to another commission of cardinals and bishops.

If the report successfully passes examination by these two commissions, the next step would be for the Pope to promulgate a decree of heroic virtue and proclaim Cardinal Cooke "venerable."

For beatification, a miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal Cooke must be submitted and decreed.

Terence Cooke was born in 1921 in New York. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1945. In 1965, he was named the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, and that same year he was diagnosed with acute myelomonocytic leukemia.

In 1968, he was named archbishop of New York, and simultaneously as the vicar apostolic for the U.S. Military. He was made a cardinal the next year.

The cardinal died in 1983 at the age of 62. He revealed his illness to the public only months before he died, and his doctor revealed to the New York Times that he had spent the last five years of his life ''on almost constant chemotherapy."

The remains of Cardinal Cooke are interred in the crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

The cardinal was named a Servant of God in 1992 by Venerable Pope John Paul II.

October 6, 2008, 11:21 am
Remembering Cardinal Cooke
Archbishop Terence J. Cooke in 1969, the year he was elevated to cardinal. (Photo: The New York Times) Updated, 7:32 p.m. Twenty-five years ago today, Cardinal Terence J. Cooke, the archbishop of New York, died at age 62, less than two months after announcing that he was terminally ill with leukemia. Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the current archbishop, celebrated a Mass in Cardinal Cooke’s memory at St. Patrick’s Cathedral late Monday morning.

Cardinal Cooke, who had led the archdiocese since 1968, was a leader of the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion. In one of his last acts he wrote a letter to be read at the archbishop’s parishes on the Sunday after his death. “It is tragic,” he wrote, “that in our time, concepts which are disastrous to the well-being of God’s human family — abortion, euthanasia and infanticide — are falsely presented as useful and even respectable solutions to human, family and social problems.”

In his homily on Monday, Cardinal Egan said of Cardinal Cooke, “He had intense love for the Lord and intense love for all in the Lord.” He added, “The hurting and the unwanted — they were his neighbors. No, better — they were his brothers and sisters.”

Cardinal Egan, referring to the story of the Good Samaritan, called Cardinal Cooke “a preacher who preached the truth; a priest who loved his neighbors; a practitioner of charity of Jesus Christ who taught and lived that all were his neighbor.”

Also in attendance were many priests and several other bishops, including Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick,
the retired archbishop of Washington, both of whom once served as secretary to Cardinal Cooke.

Cardinal Cooke was a junior prelate — the archdiocese’s vicar general and auxiliary bishop — when Pope Paul VI named him in March 1968 to succeed Cardinal Francis J. Spellman, in what The Times called “a total surprise.”

Cardinal Cooke was born on the Upper West Side on March 1, 1921, and grew up in the Bronx. His father, an Irish immigrant, was a chauffeur and then a construction worker. He was ordained in 1945 and rose swiftly through the archdiocesan ranks after his appointment as Cardinal Spellman’s secretary, in 1957. His background in social work helped distinguished him from his predecessor, Cardinal Spellman, and his successor, Cardinal John J. O’Connor.

“A very typical background for an American bishop is canon law, and Cooke’s was not,” Peter Steinfels, director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, said in a phone interview. “His leadership had this pastoral concern for those suffering hardships, rather than a more legal approach to leadership. He was quiet, and in that sense a contrast to both the public figure of Spellman, who had a high public profile, and his successor, O’Connor, who had a very outgoing, gregarious personality.”

In The Times’s obituary, Kenneth A. Briggs wrote:

As the successor to Francis Cardinal Spellman, Cooke guided the archdiocese through upheavals touched off by shifting forces in both the church and the surrounding society. Unlike his more commanding predecessor, Cardinal Cooke exercised his authority with reserve and a distaste for public conflict. Though handpicked by Spellman to take over one of the world’s most prominent Roman Catholic archdioceses, he took a far less combative stance than his mentor, shying from Spellman’s bold exercise of personal and political power. By comparison, Cardinal Cooke was a mild-mannered, expertly managerial priest who worked largely through the machinery of the archdiocese to carry out church programs.

It was not long after Cardinal Cooke’s death that calls for sainthood began to catch on. The Cause for Canonization of Terence Cardinal Cooke continues to actively pursue sainthood.

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