Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today would have been Venerable Pope John Paul II's 90th birthday!

O Holy Trinity,we thank you for having given to the ChurchPope John Paul II,and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendor of the Spirit of loveHe, trusting completely in your infinite mercyand in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherdand has pointed out to us holinessas the path to reach eternal communion with You. Grant us, through his intercession,according to your will, the grace that we implore,in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.
Venerable Pope John Paul II: I hope the current pope will canonized you as a saint and thank you for your teachings! Happy 90th Birthday!

Venerable Pope John Paul II

May 18, 1920
Apr. 2, 2005

The Venerable Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II, French: Jean Paul II, German: Johannes Paul II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (pronounced [ˈkaɾɔl ˈjuzɛv vɔi̯ˈtɨwa] served as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death over 26 years later. His was the second-longest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer (St Peter the Apostle is reputed to have served for more than thirty years as the first pontiff; however documentation is too sparse to definitively support this). He has been the only Polish Pope to date, and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in the 1520s.

John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as significantly improving the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.

Though criticised for his opposition to contraception and the ordination of women as well as his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, he has also been praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances in these areas.

He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He was fluent in many languages: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croatian, Esperanto, Ancient Greek and Latin as well as his native Polish.

As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 Saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed "Venerable" by Pope Benedict XVI.

Homage to John Paul II is focus of coming conference in Rome

Rome, Italy, May 15, 2010 / 10:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Next Tuesday an afternoon conference will be held in honor of Venerable John Paul II at one of Rome's pontifical universities. The initiative, which will discuss writings and testimonies about the Pope's life, comes on the 90th anniversary of his birth.
"A man come from afar: Homage to John Paul II" is the title of the special event to take place at Rome's Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum on the afternoon of May 18, the Italian Bishops' SIR News reported Friday.
The conference has been organized by the university together with a cultural association of students called the Pascal Center and also the Regina Apostolorum-instituted John Paul II Study Center. The Study Center aims to bring together publications and writings by John Paul II and those produced by others about him for the occasion.
In addition the center will collect significant materials concerning the life of the Pope, including photographs and audiovisual records.
According to SIR, the JPII center is committed to promoting study and research on the late pontiff’s “life, charisma, works and significant traces left in history during his life and pontificate as well as after his death."
Following an opening presentation from the rector of the university, Fr. Pedro Barrajon, and a greeting from the head of the Study Center, Martino Cichocki, a variety of talks will be given by experts regarding the life and times of John Paul II.
Among the six presentations to be given are "John Paul II and the Jewish World" by Dr. Edith Aviv, "A Polish Pope and Eastern Europe" by Hanna Suchocka, the Polish Ambassador to the Holy See and "Why He's a Saint: experience with the Postulator of the Cause of Canonization of John Paul II" by Italian journalist, Saverio Gaeta.
The conference has been planned for the late Pope's birthday, May 18. This year he would have been 90 years old.

John Paul II 90th birthday anniversaryCreated: Tuesday, May 18 2010

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the late pope, John Paul II.

Karol Wojtyla was born on 18 May 1920 in the town of Wadowice in southern Poland. His 27-year pontificate, exceptional in the record number of pilgrimages and canononisations, was reflected in the words he delivered at the commencement of his mission: “Fear not. Open wide your doors to Christ and his authority of salvation.”

John Paul II is believed to have inspired the non-violent resistance movement to communism in Poland, contributing to the collapse of the regime in the country.

During the pope’s last pilgrimage to his homeland, the Holy Father delivered a blessing, which he concluded with a moving confession: "Jointly with the Catholic Church in Poland, taking Christ as witness I repeat: "Jesus, I vest faith in you." May this sincere confession bring consolation to future generations in the new millennium. May the merciful God bless you all. And I just want to end by saying that it's sad to leave."

Karol Wojtyla died on 2 April 2005. Following his death, a beatification process of the late pope was soon inaugurated. His successor, Benedict XVI, stepped up the procedures in response to such calls of thousands of Catholics attending the pope’s funeral, chanting “Santo Subito” (Sainthood Now). While the entire process is slowly coming to a close the final term of beatification remains unknown.

Pope John Paul II
Also known as
Karol Wojtyla; Juan Pablo II; John Paul the Great
For many years Karol believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after two near fatal accidents, he responded to God's call. He studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland, and was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these years he came to know and practice the teachings of Saint Louis Marie Montfort and Saint John of the Cross. Earned his Doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy. Parish priest in the Krakow diocese from 1948 to 1951. Studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Taught social ethics at the Krakow Seminary from 1952 to 1958.

In 1956 he became a professor at the University of Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on 4 July 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on 30 December 1963. Wojtyla proved himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II; is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla cardinal on 26 June 1967.

In 1960 he published his most famous written work, Love and Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the traditional catholic teaching of marraige, relied extensively on Archbishop Wojytla's counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household. Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI. He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John Paul) to emphasize his desire to continue the reforms of the Council. John Paul II is the most traveled pope in history, having visited nearly every country in the world which would receive him. As the Vicar of Christ he has consecrated each place that he has visited to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On 13 May 1983 he went to Fatima to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He later repeated the consecration of the world to Mary in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, in fulfillment of Our Lady's promises at Fatima. In the summer of 1995, Pope John Paul II began a lengthy catechisis on the Blessed Virgin Mary during his weekly Angelus addresses, culminating on 25 October 1995, with his instruction on Our Lady's active participation in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This active participation of Our Lady at Calvary is called the corredemption. Already in 1982 and 1985 Pope John Paul II used the term "corredemptrix" in reference to Our Lady in public addresses. This is significant, for he is the first Pope to do so since Pope Benedict XV at whose prayer Our Lady came to Fatima to reveal Her Immaculate Heart. Since the time of Pope Benedict XV, this terminology was under review by the Holy See; the present Pope's usage is a confirmation of this traditional view of Mary's role in salvation history.
18 May 1920 as Karol Wojtyla at Wadowice, Poland
Papal Ascension
16 October 1978
2 April 2005 at Rome, Italy of natural causes
pending; Cause opened on 28 June 2005; beatification web site; if you have information relevant to the Cause of Pope John Paul II, contact: Vicariato di Roma Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano, 6/a 00184 Roma, ITALY

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.
- official prayer to ask favors through the intercession Pope John Paul II

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On the 20th anniversary of a great man, Jim Henson!

"My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here": Jim Henson
Jim Henson: I truly admire your work in creating the Muppets, remembering you after 20 years today, may you rest in peace!

Jim Henson died May 16, 1990 at age 53 of streptococcus pneumonia and a heart attack in New York, NY. This is a special and commerative issue for the remembrance of this great man!

Remembering a great genius after 20 years ago:

James Maury "Jim" Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was one of the most widely known puppeteers in American history and was the creator of The Muppets. He was the leading source behind their long run in the television series Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and films such as The Muppet Movie (1979) and creator of advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. He was also an Oscar-nominated film director, Emmy Award-winning television producer, and the founder of The Jim Henson Company, the Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

While busy with these later projects, Henson began to experience flu-like symptoms. On May 4, 1990, Henson made an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. At the time, he mentioned to his publicist that he was tired and had a sore throat, but felt that it would go away.
On May 12, 1990, Henson traveled to Ahoskie, North Carolina, with his daughter Cheryl to visit his father and stepmother. The next day, feeling tired and sick, he consulted a physician in North Carolina, who could find no evidence of pneumonia by physical examination and prescribed no treatment except aspirin. Henson returned to New York on an earlier flight and canceled a Muppet recording session scheduled for May 14.

Henson's wife Jane, from whom he was separated, came to visit and sat with him talking throughout the evening. By 2 a.m. on May 15, 1990 he was having trouble breathing and began coughing up blood. He suggested to Jane that he might be dying, but did not want to bother going to the hospital. She later told People Magazine that it was likely due to his desire not to be a bother to people.

At 4 a.m., he finally agreed to go to New York Hospital. By the time he was admitted at 4:58 a.m., he could no longer breathe on his own and had abscesses in his lungs. He was placed on a mechanical ventilator to help him breathe, but his condition deteriorated rapidly into septic shock despite aggressive treatment with multiple antibiotics. At 1:21 a.m. on May 16, 1990, 20 hours and 23 minutes after he was admitted, Henson died from organ failure at the age of 53 at New York Hospital.

The cause of death was first reported as streptococcus pneumonia, a bacterial infection. Bacterial pneumonia is usually caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, an alpha-hemolytic species of Streptococcus. Henson, however, died of organ failure due to infection by Streptococcus pyogenes, a severe Group A streptococcal infection. S. pyogenes is the bacterial species that causes strep throat, scarlet fever, and rheumatic fever. It can also cause other infections.

Two separate memorial services were held for Henson, one in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and one in London, England, at St. Paul's Cathedral. As per Henson's wishes, no one in attendance wore black, and a Dixieland jazz band finished the service by performing "When The Saints Go Marching In." Harry Belafonte sang "Turn the World Around," a song he had debuted on The Muppet Show, as each member of the audience waved, with a puppeteer's rod, an individual, brightly-colored foam butterfly. Later, Big Bird (performed by Caroll Spinney) walked out onto the stage and sang Kermit the Frog's signature song, "Bein' Green."

In the final minutes of the two-and-a-half hour service, six of the core Muppet performers sang, in their characters' voices, a medley of Jim Henson's favorite songs, culminating in a performance of "Just One Person" that began with Richard Hunt singing alone, as Scooter. "As each verse progressed," Henson employee Chris Barry recalled, "each Muppeteer joined in with their own Muppets until the stage was filled with all the Muppet performers and their beloved characters."

The funeral was later described by LIFE as "an epic and almost unbearably moving event."

The image of a growing number of performers singing "Just One Person" was recreated for the 1990 television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson and inspired screenwriter Richard Curtis, who attended the London service, to write the growing-orchestra wedding scene of his 2003 film Love Actually.
Henson was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery. His ashes were scattered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at his ranch.

Henson's sudden death resulted in an outpouring of public and professional affection. There have since been numerous tributes and dedications in his memory. Henson’s companies, which are now run by his children, continue to produce films and television shows.
On September 26, 1992, Henson was posthumously awarded the Courage of Conscience Award for being a "Humanitarian, muppeteer, producer and director of films for children that encourage tolerance, interracial values, equality and fair play.

The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, has acquired more than 700 puppets created by Henson and his studio, including some of the earliest Muppets. Many of these are displayed in the museum exhibit Jim Henson: Puppeteer. In September 2008, the Center opened Jim Henson: Wonders From His Workshop, highlighting creations from Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, and other later works.

Henson is honored both as himself and as Kermit the Frog on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The only other person to receive this honor is Mel Blanc, the voice actor of Bugs Bunny.

The classes of 1994, 1998, and 1999 at the University of Maryland, College Park, Henson's alma mater, commissioned a life-size statue of Henson and Kermit the Frog, which was dedicated on September 24, 2003, Henson's 67th birthday. The statue cost $217,000, and is displayed outside Maryland's student union.

In 2006, Maryland introduced 50 statues of their school mascot, Testudo the Terrapin, with various designs chosen by different sponsoring groups. Among them was Kertle, a statue by Washington DC artist Elizabeth Baldwin designed to look like Kermit the Frog.
The theater at his alma mater, Northwestern High School, in Hyattsville, MD, is named in his honor.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and The Muppet Christmas Carol are both dedicated to him.

The television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson allowed the Muppets themselves to pay tribute to Henson. The special featured interviews with Steven Spielberg and others.

A museum was built in memory of Henson in Leland, Mississippi. Official certificates from the Mississippi Legislature honoring Jim Henson and Muppets paraphernalia are on display.
Tom Smith's Henson tribute song, "A Boy and His Frog," won the Pegasus Award for Best Filk Song in 1991.

Stephen Lynch produced a song titled "Jim Henson's Dead," in which he pays homage to many of the characters from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.

J. G. Thirlwell (under the alias Foetus In Excelsis Corruptus) performed a reworked version of Elton John's "Rocket Man" titled "Puppet Dude," with the lyrics altered to refer to Jim Henson. This can be found on the Male live album.

Apple Computer's "Think Different" advertising campaign featured Henson.
Oury Atlan, Thibaut Berland, and Damien Ferri wrote, directed, and animated a 3D tribute to Henson entitled Over Time that was shown as part of the 2005 Electronic Theater at SIGGRAPH.
Henson was featured in the Boyz II Men video, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."
Henson featured in The American Adventure in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Episode 2880 of Sesame Street (which aired on November 15, 1991) was dedicated in his memory, with a memorial card following the closing credits.

Vintage footage of Henson was featured in an American Express credit card commercial in 2008.
Philip Roth often quotes Jim Henson in his Sabbath's Theater as the "great regret" for Mickey Sabbath.
On the evening of October 25, 2000, Comedy Central had a banner sign that said: Jim Henson [1936-1990].
May 16, 2010 marked the 20th Anniversary of his death.

Today is the 90th anniversary of Saint Joan of Arc being canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920

Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922)

Pope Benedict XV: on this day in 1920, you officially announced to the world that you will be canonizing Saint Joan of Arc or The Maid of Orléans, thank you for canonization a great woman on this day after 90 years!

State, in the name of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV

I. It is with the greatest good will that the Most Blessed Father1 opens these solemn proceedings, and with a heart most grateful to God, through Whose kindness he not only witnesses the happiness of the day, but himself takes first place in the celebration thereof. For it is the order of the day that he who has by Jesus Christ been appointed teacher of truth and champion of justice canonize with inalterable decree the sanctity of the bravest maiden within the recollection of men and the most innocent; and by decreeing for her the highest honors, forever erase from memory the stain of her unjust condemnation. Here may we admire the design of Divine Providence.

For inasmuch as it was before an unlawful tribunal that Joan was tried, it was more than once that she was heard voicing an appeal to the Roman Pontiff; this very appeal, although it did not suffice to stay her cruel punishment, was nonetheless destined to exercise a power and evoke an effect beyond all expectation. It was therefore not many years later that Callixtus vindicated the name of the Maid of Orleans from every accusation; and now, almost five centuries later, it is with the authority and approval of God that our Most Blessed Lord, here in this most solemn assembly of the nations of the world, proclaims this very Maid an exemplar of sanctity and commends her to the entire Christian world, an object of veneration, of imitation. And in this great throng of local people and guests from abroad, he is especially delighted by the visible presence of France, whose most distinguished citizen, he who publicly represents her, he here beholds, together with many of her bishops; nor has he the least doubt but that this noble nation's lively devotion to Joan of Arc, the venerable savior of her country, will be of great spiritual benefit to her. Meanwhile, in view of the gravity of this occasion, he wishes that all here present pray to God for him, invoking the intercessions of Mary, the immaculate Mother of God, her Most Blessed Spouse Joseph, Peter and Paul, the Chiefs of the Apostles, and the rest of the entire company of heaven.

II. Before he proclaims the solemn edict, the Most Blessed Father, deeming it fit that we press more insistently our humble petition for divine enlightenment, requests of us an ever more fervent invocation of the author of wisdom, the Holy Spirit.

III. Behold, that moment of time, so long awaited by good men, has now come, when the sanctity of Joan of Arc, supereminent in every respect, is ratified by the authority of Peter. May the whole Catholic world hear, and just as it has come to admire her brave deeds in defense of her country, may it now and henceforward venerate her as a most brilliantly shining light of the Church Triumphant.
Pope Benedict XV

This is one of the only photos taken of Saint Joan of Arc canonization mass on May 16, 1920. Pope Benedict XV is presiding the Mass and he is the pope who canonization her on this day after 90 years ago!

Glorious St. Joan of Arc, filled with compassion for those who invoke you, with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you to take my present need under your special protection... (mention here). Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face and with you and Mary and all the angels and saints praise Him through all eternity. O most powerful Saint Joan, do not let me lose my soul, but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to heaven, forever and ever. Amen.

The Litany of St. Joan of Arc
Lord, have mercy on us! Jesus Christ, have mercy on us! Lord, have mercy on us!Jesus Christ, hear us! Jesus Christ, graciously hear us!
Our Heavenly Father, Who art God, have mercy on us!Son, Savior of the world, Who art God, have mercy on us!Holy Spirit, Who art God, have mercy on us!Holy Trinity, Who art God, have mercy on us!
Holy Mary, virgin Mother of God, pray for us.Our Lady of the Assumption, principal patron of France, pray for us.Saint Michael the Archangel, patron and special protector of France, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and Martyr, pray for us.Saint Margaret of Antioch, virgin and Martyr, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, chosen by God at Domremy, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, informed [of her mission] by Saint Michael, the Archangel and his Angels, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, compliant to the call of God, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, confidant and submissive to her voices, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, model of family life and labor, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, faithfully devoted to Our Lady, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, who delighted in the Holy Eucharist, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, model of generosity in the service to God, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, example of faithfulness to the Divine vocation, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, model of union with God in action, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, virgin and soldier, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, model of courage and purity in the field [of battle], pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, compassionate towards all who suffer, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, the pride of Orleans, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, glory of Reims, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, liberator of the Country, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, abandoned and imprisoned at Compiegne, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, pure and patient in thy prison, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, heroic and valiant before thy judges, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, alone with God at the hour of torment, pray for us.Saint Joan of Arc, Martyr of Rouen, pray for us.
Saint Joan or Arc and Saint Therese of Lisieux patronesses of France, pray for us.All the Saints of France, intercede for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, ave mercy on us, Lord.Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, Lord.Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, Lord.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us, that we may become worthy of the promises of Our Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Oh God, Who hast raised up in an admirable manner, the virgin of Domremy, Saint Joan of Arc, for the defense of the faith and country, by her intercession, we ask Thee that the Church [may] triumph against the assaults of her enemies and rejoice in lasting peace; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Canonization of Joan of Arc

19th century to presentParadoxically, it was the publication of works by secular historians in the mid-19th century which seems to have sparked widespread public efforts to ask the Church to officially canonize her. Félix Antoine Philibert Dupanloup was a French ecclesiastic.He was born at Saint-Félix, in Haute-Savoie. In his earliest years he was confided to the care of his brother, a priest in the diocese of Chambéry. In 1810 he was sent to a pensionnat ecclésiastique at Paris..., Bishop of Orléans from 1849 to 1878, led the efforts which culminated in Joan of Arc's beatification.

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's accession to Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process... in 1909, held in Notre Dame de Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris:
Notre Dame de Paris is a Gothic, Roman Catholic Cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the "cathedra", or official chair, of the Archbishop.... During the subsequent fighting in France during World War I, Allied troops carried her image into battle with them. During one battle, French troops interpreted a German searchlight image projected onto low-lying clouds as an appearance by Joan, which greatly bolstered their morale.


The act by which a particular Christian church or group declares a deceased person to be a saint and is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints... came on 16 May 1920. Over 30,000 people attended the ceremony in Rome, including 140 descendants of Joan of Arc's family.

Pope Benedict XV:

He was born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, reigned as Pope from 3 September 1914 to 22 January 1922, succeeding Pope Pius X... presided over the rite, for which the interior of St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter:

This is where officially known in Italian as the ' and commonly known as St. Peter's Basilica, is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is the symbolic "Mother church" of... was richly decorated (Associated Press, 16 May 1920).
Her beatification approximately coincided with the French invention of the Janvier transfer engraving machine (also called a die engraving pantograph) which facilitates the creation of minted coins and commemorative medallions. This invention, together with the already well-established French sculptural tradition, added another element to Saint Joan's beatification: a series of well-made religious art medals featuring Saint Jeanne d'Arc with scenes from her life.

Saint Joan of Arc or The Maid of Orléans (French: Jeanne d'Arc: ca. 1412 [30 May 1431) is a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, claiming divine guidance, and was indirectly responsible for the coronation of Charles VII. She was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court, and burned at the stake when she was nineteen years old. Twenty-four years later, on the initiative of Charles VII, Pope Callixtus III reviewed the decision of the ecclesiastical court, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux, one of the patron saints of France.

Canonization of Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) is a recognized Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Although she was excommunicated and burned at the stake by local officials in 1431, central church officials would later nullify her excommunication, declaring her a martyr unjustly executed for a secular vendetta. Her legend would grow from there, leading to her beatification in 1909 and her canonization in 1920.
Saint Joan of Arc

St. Joan of Arc statue at the Notre Dame Cathedral, where she was beatified.
Born: Possibly 6 January, 1412, Domrémy (later renamed Domrémy-la-Pucelle) , France
Died: 30 May 1431, Rouen, France
Canonized by Roman Catholic Church
Beatifiedon April 18, 1909 by Saint Pope Pius X

Canonized on May 16, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV Feast-day: May 30

captives; France; martyrs; opponents of Church authorities; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; rape victims; soldiers; Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service; Women's Army Corps

In the face of your enemies, in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, you held firm in your faith. Even in your abandonment, alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith. Even as you faced your own mortality, you held firm in your faith. I pray that I may be as bold in my beliefs as you, St. Joan. I ask that you ride alongside me in my own battles. Help me be mindful that what is worthwhile can be won when I persist. Help me hold firm in my faith. Help me believe in my ability to act well and wisely. Amen.
Prayer to Joan of Arc for Faith

Course to sainthood and Death and 15th century
As with other saints who were excommunicated or investigated by ecclesiastic courts, such as St. Athanasius, St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, Joan of Arc was put on trial by an Inquisitorial court. In Joan's case, the court was controlled by the English government in occupied northern France, leading to her burning at the stake at Rouen. When the French regained Rouen in 1449, a series of investigations were launched which led to a formal appeal run by the Inquisitor-General in 1455. She was declared innocent on July 7, 1456. The Inquisitor's summary of evidence for the case describes her as a martyr who had been executed by a court which was itself in violation of the Church's rules.

She had always been considered innocent by those of her own faction. The city of Orléans commemorated her death each year beginning in 1432, and from 1435 onward performed a religious play centered around her victories. The play represented her as a divinely sent saviour guided by angels. In 1452, during one of the postwar investigations into her execution, Cardinal d'Estouteville declared that this religious play would merit qualification as a pilgrimage site by which attendees could gain an indulgence from sin. Not long after the appeal, Pope Pius II wrote an approving piece about her in his memoirs.

16th century
During the 16th century, Joan of Arc was utilized as a symbol of the Catholic League, a group organized to fight against Protestantism during the Wars of Religion of that era.

19th century to present
Paradoxically, it was the publication of works by secular historians in the mid-19th century which seems to have sparked widespread public efforts to ask the Church to officially canonize her. Félix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans from 1849 to 1878, led the efforts which culminated in Joan of Arc's beatification in 1909, held in Notre Dame de Paris. During the subsequent fighting in France during World War I, Allied troops carried her image into battle with them. During one battle, French troops interpreted a German searchlight image projected onto low-lying clouds as an appearance by Joan, which greatly bolstered their morale.

Her canonization came on 16 May 1920. Over 30,000 people attended the ceremony in Rome, including 140 descendants of Joan of Arc's family. Pope Benedict XV presided over the rite, for which the interior of St. Peter's Basilica was richly decorated (Associated Press, 16 May 1920).

A commemorative medallion made in France at the time of Joan of Arc's beatification.
Her beatification approximately coincided with the French invention of the Janvier transfer engraving machine (also called a die engraving pantograph) which facilitates the creation of minted coins and commemorative medallions. This invention, together with the already well-established French sculptural tradition, added another element to Saint Joan's beatification: a series of well-made religious art medals featuring Saint Jeanne d'Arc with scenes from her life.

Her feast day is 30 May. Although changes to the Church-wide calendar in 1968 moved many medieval European saints' days off the general calendar in order to make room for more non-Europeans, her feast day is still celebrated on many local and regional Church calendars, especially in France. Many Catholic churches around the globe have been named after her in the decades since her canonization.

She has become especially popular among Traditional Catholics, particularly in France - both because of her obvious connection to this country as well as the fact that the Traditional Catholic movement is strongest in France. This branch of Catholicism, which has refused to accept the changes made by the Second Vatican Council, has compared the 1988 excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (one of the founders of the Traditional Catholic movement) to Joan of Arc's excommunication by a corrupt pro-English Bishop in 1431. Traditional Catholic parishes sometimes perform plays in Joan of Arc's honor.

France with Pope Benedict XV:
Benedict attempted to improve relations with the anti-clerical Republican government of France. He canonised the French national heroine Saint Joan of Arc. In the mission territories of the Third World, he emphasized the necessity of training native priests to quickly replace the European missionaries, and founded the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Studies and the Coptic College in the Vatican. In 1921, France re-established diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Remembering Servant of God Father Matteo Ricci after 400 years

Servant of God Father Matteo Ricci: On this day, the world will remember you after 400 years, you will be remembered as an Italian Jesuit priest, and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission, as it existed in the 17th-18th centuries, thank you for your ability to help those to understand the Chinese and their culture!

Father Matteo Ricci

Oct. 6, 1552 in Macerata, Marche Region, Italy
May 11, 1610 in Beijing, China

He was an Jesuit Missionary to China. Known to the Chinese as Li Madou (—˜àóâ…), Ricci was born in the city of Macerata in the Papal States. Ricci undertook theological and legal studies at a Jesuit institution in Rome. In 1578 he arrived in Goa, India, to begin serving as a Jesuit missionary. In 1582 he was sent to China, arriving in the Portuguese colony of Macao. There he began studying Chinese.

In 1583, he moved to Zhaoqing, in Guangdong, at the invitation of the governor Wang Pan, and while there created a world map in Chinese based on the latest available Western knowledge. During his stay, he is believed to have compiled the first-ever Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, inventing a romanization for Chinese. He was banished from Zhaoqing in 1589 at the behest of a newly arrived government official. Ricci first arrived in Beijing in 1598, but it was not until 1601, during a subsequent visit to Beijing, that he was finally granted admission into the Forbidden City after sending the Ming emperor Wanli a chiming clock. He was thus the first European ever granted entry into the Forbidden City.

Ricci was welcomed after that, his missions and projects were financed, and he associated with many high government officials and literati, but he never met the Emperor himself. Ricci remained in China for the rest of his life, and after his death the Emperor granted him the rare privilege of burial in Beijing. Ricci's achievements were numerous, including carrying out the first translations of the Confucian classics into a European language - Latin. The Latinized name Confucius (from Chinese "Kongfuzi") was coined by him.

Matteo Ricci was born in Macerata, Italy and died in Peking, China. Against his father's wishes, who forbade any talk of religious topics around the home, Matteo Ricci entered the Jesuits. At the end of his training he was assigned to the China Mission, and arrived there in 1583, where he worked for 27 years. Eventually he was welcomed to the academies and gained many influential friendships. He opened a residence in Nanking for himself, his fellow Jesuits and his scientific instruments. Later he became the court mathematician in Peking.

His books Geometrica Practica and Trigonometrica were translations of Christopher Clavius' works into Chinese. He made Western developments in mathematics available to the Chinese and in 1584 and 1600 he published the first maps of China ever available to the West. For the first time the Chinese had an idea of the distribution of oceans and land masses. He introduced trigonometric and astronomical instruments, and translated the first six books of Euclid into Chinese. The Chinese geometrical works for which he is remembered were books on the astrolabe, the sphere, measures and isoperimetrics. But especially important was his Chinese version of the first six books of Euclid's Elements, which was written in collaboration with one of his pupils. Entitled A first textbook of geometry, this work assures Ricci an important place in the history of mathematics. Ricci's success was due to his personal qualities, his complete adaptation to Chinese customs (choosing the attire of a Chinese scholar) and to his authoritative knowledge of the sciences. He is remembered for his Chinese works on religious and moral topics, as well as works on scientific topics such as the astrolabe, sphere, arithmetic, measure and isoperimetrics. It is still possible to visit his tomb in the Peking suburbs.

The Encyclopedia Britannica reports, "Probably no European name of past centuries is so well known in China as that of Li-ma-teu (Ricci Matteo)." Ricci's contributions to geography included his calculation of the breadth of China, which was three-quarters of the breadth assumed by Western geographers. At the time Ricci's maps of China were considered more accurate even than the contemporary maps of Europe. Also he identified China and Peking with the Cathay Marco Polo, and he shares this latter recognition with another Jesuit, a Coadjutor Brother, Benedetto de Goes, S.J., who made a journey from India to China during the years 1602-1605, in order to verify that China and Cathay were the same. Matteo Ricci brought trigonometry to China, and Ricci's successors, Verbiest and Schall von Bell, then used the geometric and trigonometric concepts to bring about a revolution in the sciences of astronomy, the design of astronomical instruments, mapmaking, and the intricate art of making accurate calendars. The Jesuits were inveterate mapmakers and were continually traveling around the empire, even though travel conditions were quite primitive.

The TRS recounts 52 journeys by Ricci and Verbiest alone. The Jesuits long had an interest to find an overland route from Europe through Christian Russia. The Tsar's ambassador to China at the time, named Spathary, was able to speak Latin and so could converse with the Jesuits. This involved another Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest in negotiations over the border between the two countries; later it was partly under his direction that the Russo-Chinese borders were determined, and it was his surveyors who were sent out to mark them. It did not, however, put an end to border disputes, and for the past three centuries these borders continue to be contested. The China mission has been spoken of with awe and admiration by historians such as Joseph Needham, who relates the vicissitudes and hardships under which the Jesuits labored in his monumental work, Civilization in China. (vol. 3 p. 173)
Ricci, Schall, Verbiest and, in a later generation, Gaubil, were in China at a period of spontaneous decline of indigenous science, the Ming dynasty and early Ching, a decline which had nothing obviously to do with the forces which sent them there and permitted them to stay. . . There was of course the almost insuperable difficulty of language at a time when sinology hardly existed and no good dictionaries had been made.

The Jesuits went to unparalleled lengths and showed unbelievable patience in adapting themselves to the people they had determined to teach. For instance, they sent out a small expedition of ten or twelve priests to Christianize four hundred million Chinese. This almost impossible task they started by studying China. The Jesuits therefore spent several years learning Chinese philosophy, art, and literature, making ready to meet the Chinese on their own level. After the imperial officials had slowly, reluctantly admitted them, the Jesuits at once flattered them by talking to them in their own tongue, and attracted them by displaying specially prepared maps and astronomical instruments.

Instead of being rejected as foreign barbarians, they were accepted as intelligent and cultivated men. One of them, who became a painter in the Chinese style, is now regarded as one of the classical artists of China.From about 1600 until the suppression in 1773, Jesuits were practically the sole source of Chinese knowledge about Western astronomy, geometry and trigonometry. Appointments in the Astronomical Bureau provided the Jesuits with access to the ruling elite, whose conversion was their main object. Mathematical and astronomical treatises demonstrated high learning and proved that the missionaries were civilized and socially acceptable. While trigonometry became an analytic science in Europe, in the Orient it remained primitive until the Jesuits came. For 20 years Ricci had tried to reach the emperor in person, but the emperor was a recluse not accustomed to seeing his own people. For a time suspicious landlords would drive Ricci and his companions from their dwellings, until they hit on the plan of renting haunted houses. Then no one bothered them. Unexpectedly the emperor summoned Ricci and his companions to inquire about a ringing clock brought to him by the Jesuits.

His own scientists had failed to fix it when it stopped. Since the emperor could not receive these foreigners in person, he had an artist draw full length portraits of them, so that they could have a vicarious interview. Another opportunity was occasioned by an eclipse of the sun: the prediction of the expected time and duration made by his own Chinese astronomers differed considerably from the Jesuit prediction. When the latter prediction proved correct, the place of the Jesuit mathematicians was secure. It is curious that the Jesuits taught the Chinese the heliocentric theory, unaware that Galileo's trial had taken place. So at the very moment Galileo was being accused of heresy in Rome, the Jesuits in China were teaching the same heliocentric message that they had learned from their Jesuit colleagues before they had left Rome.

There was a good five-year lag in communications. Mateo Ricci, S.J. understood and appreciated Chinese culture fully from the beginning and his example should serve as an inspiration to many. From earliest times, the Church has learned to express the Gospel through the help of ideas and in the culture of various peoples, because the message that she preaches is intended for all peoples and nations. The Christian message is not the exclusive property of any one group or race; it is addressed to everyone and belongs to everyone. There is therefore no opposition or incompatibility in being at the same time truly Christian and authentically Chinese. Matteo Ricci was a pioneer of cultural relations between China and the West, and his profound appreciation of Chinese cultural and moral values enabled him to make China known to the West and the West to China.

Ricci made his reputation as a scientist of great versatility, and by his display of such novelties as Venetian prisms, European books and paintings and engravings, sundials, clocks, and maps, he attracted a steady audience. He designed and displayed for the first time his great World Map which brought about a revolution in traditional Chinese cosmography. This was the beginning of his major contribution to the diffusion of knowledge and the religious apostolate he promoted, that is, the composition of works in Chinese on such varied topics as mathematics, literature, apologetics, and popular catechetics. There were more than twenty of these works. The prestige he gained in the highest cultural spheres by. his wisdom, scientific knowledge, and capacity for philosophical speculation won him a hearing when he spoke of the gospel message. Without any trace of superiority in his manner, he used a process of dialogue which was characterized by an esteem and respect for everyone. This enabled him to bring the Gospel to the highest non-Christian civilization of his time. By working out a synthesis of the human and moral values in Chinese culture and of the integral gospel message, his method anticipated the pastoral approach of the Church today.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's arrival in China, the July 1983 issue of an official Chinese magazine from Peking in English published a warm account of Ricci with numerous photographs of some of his better known works which are now in the Peking Library collection. There is a photograph of a portrait of Ricci with the notation that the original is in the archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome. There is also a photograph of the Madonna and Child, a painting brought to China by Ricci. At about the same time, Peking Radio did a long program on Ricci, centering on his role as initiator of cultural and scientific relations between China and the West.

In the run-up to the 400th anniversary of Ricci's death, the Vatican is hosting a major exhibit dedicated to his life. At least one Catholic bishop - Claudio Giuliodori from Ricci's hometown, Macerata - has mentioned that the possibility of the Jesuit's beatification is considered by the church authorities. Ricci was the first Westerner to learn about the Kaifeng Jews.

He was personally contacted by a member of the Jewish community visiting in Beijing in 1605. Ricci never personally visited the community in Kaifeng, Henan Province, but he did send a junior missionary there three years later in 1608, which was the first of many such missions commissioned by the church. In fact, the elderly Chief Rabbi of the Jews was ready to cede his power to Ricci, as long as he gave up eating pork, but he never accepted the position.

Ricci lived on in China until the end of his life. He died in Beijing on May 11, 1610 at the age of 58. According to the code of the Ming Dynasty, foreigners who died in China had to be buried in Macau. Diego de Pantoja made a special plea to the court, requesting a burial plot in Beijing in the light of Ricci's contributions to China. Emperor Wanli granted this permission and designated a Buddhist temple for the purpose. In October of 1610, Ricci's remains were transferred to the tomb. The Zhalan cemetery and is now on the campus the Beijing Administrative College (located at 6 Chegongzhuang Road, Xicheng District.

Matteo Ricci was succeeded as Superior General of the China mission by Nicolò Longobardo in 1610. Longobardo entrusted another Jesuit, Nicolas Trigault, with the job of expanding and editing, as well as translating into Latin, those of Ricci's papers that were found in his office after his death. The work was first published in 1615 in Augsburg as De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, and soon was translated to a number of other European languages.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Today is the feast day of Saint Damien of Molokai

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I feel an
immense joy and unlimited confidence in
contemplating the numerous favors which
You grant to those who with faith and
humility have recourse to You through the
mediation of Your beloved servant, Father
Damien, who, for love of You, overcame
the repugnance of his senses and gave himself up, body and
soul, to the care of the poor lepers of Molokai.
Impelled by confidence in his
power of intercession with You and
inspired by his ardent charity for all the
afflicted, through the Immaculate Heart
of Mary, I offer You with all the fervor
of which I am capable, this novena of
praise and petition to obtain the grace for
which I ask, if it be for Your greater
glory, and the good of my soul, or if not,
I beg for the grace to resign myself
entirely to Your adorable designs in this
request which I commend to You. Amen

Saint Damien once said: Here I am a priest, dear parents, here I am a missionary in a corrupt, heretical, idolatrous country. How great my obligations are! Ah! do not forget this poor priest running night and day over the volcanoes night and day in search of strayed sheep. Pray night and day for me, I beg You!

A tapestry depicting Damien hangs outside St. Peter's Basilica before Mass at the Vatican on October 11, 2009! "Not without fear and loathing," Pope Benedict underlined, "Father Damian made the choice to go on the island of Molokai in the service of lepers who were there, abandoned by all. So he exposed himself to the disease of which they suffered. With them he felt at home. The servant of the Word became a suffering servant, leper with the lepers, during the last four years of his life." He continued, "To follow Christ, Father Damian not only left his homeland, but has also staked his health so he, as the word of Jesus announced in today's Gospel tells us, received eternal life." The figure of Father Damian, Benedict XVI added, "teaches us to choose the good fight not those that lead to division, but those that gather us together in unity."
Saint Father Joseph Damien: thank you for your courage and bravery and marvelous work with the Lepers, remembering you today, happy feast day, you are truly a hero of mine in the Roman Catholic Church and its saints!

Throughout the Catholic church years, there are various days feast days of the saints while today is saint has a special bond with myself. I did a paper on him back in my sophmore year in college.

Today is the feast day of Saint Damien of Molokai was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He was an missionary religious order. He won recognition for his ministry to people with leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokai in the Kingdom of Hawaii. He is the patron saint of people with leprosy, people with HIV and AIDS, outcasts, the State of Hawaii.

There were calls for his canonization shortly after his death, but Father Damien's official cause for sainthood wasn't introduced until 1955. It took 40 more years for Damien to be beatified, given the title "blessed," the step before sainthood by the late great Venerable Pope John Paul II. When the news hit that Pope Benedict XVI is canonized Father Damien, President Obama said:"Father Damien challenged the stigmatizing effects of the disease, giving voice to the voiceless and ultimately sacrificing his own life to bring dignity to so many. In our own time as millions around the world suffer from disease, especially the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, we should draw on the example of Father Damien's resolve in answering the urgent call to heal and care for the sick." He is a true hero of mine!

Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. (Dutch: Pater Damiaan or Heilige Damiaan van Molokai; January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889), born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

He was a missionary religious order. He won recognition for his ministry to people with leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokai in the Kingdom of Hawaii.

After sixteen years caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, he eventually contracted and died of the disease, and is widely considered a "martyr of charity". He is the ninth person recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church to have lived, worked, and died in what is now the United States.

In both the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, Damien is venerated as a saint, one who is holy and worthy of public veneration and invocation. In the Anglican communion, as well as other denominations of Christianity, Damien is considered the spiritual patron for Hansen's disease, HIV and AIDS patients, and outcasts. As the patron saint of the Diocese of Honolulu and of Hawaii, Father Damien Day is celebrated statewide on April 15. Upon his beatification by Pope John Paul II in Rome on June 4, 1995, Blessed Damien was granted a memorial feast day, which is celebrated on May 10. Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "the Apostle of the Lepers", and elsewhere he is known as the "leper priest".

In 1977, Pope Paul VI declared Father Damien to be venerable, the first of three steps that lead to sainthood. On June 4, 1995, Pope John Paul II beatified him and gave him his official spiritual title of Blessed. On December 20, 1999, Jorge Medina Estévez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, confirmed the November 1999 decision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to place Blessed Damien on the liturgical calendar with the rank of optional memorial. Father Damien was canonized on October 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI. His feast Day is celebrated on May 10. In Hawaii, it is celebrated on the day of his death, April 15.

Two miracles have been attributed to Father Damien's posthumous intercession: On June 13, 1992, Pope John Paul II approved the cure of a nun in France in 1895 as a miracle attributed to Venerable Damien’s intercession. In that case, Sister Simplicia Hue began a novena to Father Damien as she lay dying of a lingering intestinal illness. It is stated that pain and symptoms of the illness disappeared overnight.

In the second case, Audrey Toguchi, a Hawaiian woman who suffered from cancer, was completely cured after having prayed at the grave of Father Damien on Molokai: In 1997, Toguchi was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a cancer that arises in fat cells. She underwent surgery a year later. A tumor the size of a fist was removed from the side of her left thigh and buttock. Unfortunately, the cancer spread to her lungs. Her physician, Dr. Walter Chang, told her, 'Nobody has ever survived this cancer. It's going to take you.' The Toguchi case was documented in the Hawaii Medical Journal of October 2000.

In April 2008, The Holy See accepted the two cures as evidence of Father Damien's sanctity. On June 2, 2008, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican voted to recommend raising Father Damien of Molokai to sainthood. The decree that officially notes and verifies the miracle needed for canonization was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI and Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins on Thursday, July 3, 2008, with the ceremony taking place in Rome, with celebrations in Belgium and Hawaii. On February 21, 2009, the Vatican announced that Father Damien would be canonized.

The ceremony took place in Rome on Rosary Sunday October 11, 2009, in the presence of King Albert II of the Belgians and Queen Paola as well as the Belgian Prime Minister and several cabinet ministers, completing the process of canonization. Four other individuals were canonized with Father Damien at the same ceremony: Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Sister Jeanne Jugan, Father Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón. Damien's symbols are a tree and a dove.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Remembering Cardinal O’Connor — 10 years after his death

Venerable Pope John Paul II shakes hands with Cardinal John O'Connor: 2 months before his death!

You are forever in our hearts, memories and prayers on this the ninth anniversary of your death. Your homilies still remain an inspiration today!

Cardinal John O'Connor

Jan. 15, 1920
May 3, 2000

It’s hard to believe, but May 3 will be the 10th anniversary of the death of Cardinal John O’Connor. O’Connor had been an outspoken and sometimes controversial figure, but his death was mourned by all of New York. Over four days, 150,000 people filed past his body in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay their respects.

Over 3,000 mourners filled the cathedral for the Funeral Mass, with thousands more outside listening to a broadcast of the service. President Clinton and Hillary were there. Al Gore and Tipper, too. George H.W. Bush sat with O’Connor’s family. I remember the roar that rose through St. Patrick’s when the homilist declared “What a great legacy he left us in his consistent reminder that the church must always be unambiguously pro-life.” (The homilist was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who had little idea that his world would come down two years later…)

Certainly, a big part of O’Connor’s legacy was his strong opposition to abortion. He started the Sisters of Life religious order to promote the church’s pro-life teachings.
Later this month, on Saturday, March 27, the Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York will hold an all-day conference “honoring the legacy of Cardinal O’Connor” at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. Archbishop Dolan will get things started with his talk: “Cardinal O’Connor: Priest and Churchman for Our Times.”

Religious Figure. He was a product of his native Philadelphia, one of five children. He graduated West Catholic High School operated by the Christian Brothers. Ordained a priest on Dec 15, 1945, his first assignment was to St James High School in Chester, Pa. He continued work on advanced degrees, first a master's in advanced ethics from Villanova University and a doctorate at Georgetown in political science. He joined the Navy in 1952 in response to a call for more chaplains during the Korean War. When he retired 27 years later, he had risen to rear admiral and chief of Navy chaplains. After retirement, he was assigned to the Scranton, Pennsylvania area where he became a bishop.

In January of 1984, he was named to succeed New York's Terence Cardinal Cooke, who had died. He was elevated to cardinal 18 months later. Diagnosed with brain cancer and even during the terminal stage, Cardinal O'Connor continued to conduct Mass and execute his duties as head of the archdiocese of New York. He died in the early evening in his small bedroom at his residence in the rear of St Patrick's. in Manhattan. With him were family members and close friends from the clergy.

Four days of farewell was undertaken at St. Patrick's Cathedral culminating in a 40 minute service attended by 3,500 mourners. In attendance, President Bill & Hilary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and nearby sat the two George Bushes with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The Mass opened with a procession of 1,000 of O'Connor's fellow clergy. At the end of the service, O'Connor's dark wood casket was carried down a narrow staircase beneath the altar, where all previous archbishops of New York are buried. Sixteen years of service at St. Patrick's had come to a close.
Burial: Saint Patricks Cathedral

Archbishop of New York
Styles ofJohn O'Connor

His Eminence
Spoken style
Your Eminence

On January 26, 1984, after the death of Terence Cooke three months earlier, O'Connor was appointed Archbishop of New York, and installed on March 19. He was elevated to Cardinal in the consistory of May 25, 1985, with the titular church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Rome, the traditional titulus of the Archbishop of New York.

Archbishop of New York, O'Connor skillfully brought to bear the power and prestige of his office to bear witness to traditional Catholic doctrine. Upon his death, the New York Times called O'Connor "a familiar and towering presence, a leader whose views and personality were forcefully injected into the great civic debates of his time, a man who considered himself a conciliator, but who never hesitated to be a combatant", and one of the Catholic Church's "most powerful symbols on moral and political issues."

Pro-life advocacy
O'Connor believed in protecting all human life, from the unborn to convicts on death row. He was a forceful opponent of abortion, human cloning, capital punishment, human trafficking, and unjust war. Horrified by a visit to Dachau concentration camp, O'Connor was inspired to found a religious order that would serve the unborn and dying and be dedicated to the sanctity of all human life.

In 1991 his dream was realized in the Sisters of Life. He assailed what he called the "horror of euthanasia", asking rhetorically, "What makes us think that permitted lawful suicide will not become obligated suicide?" In 2000, O'Connor called for a "major overhaul" of the punitive Rockefeller drug laws, which he believed produced "grave injustices".

Critiques of U.S. military actions
Despite his years spent as a Navy chaplain, O'Connor offered severe critiques of some United States military policies. In the 1980s, he condemned United States support for counterrevolutionary guerrilla forces in Central America, opposed the U.S.'s mining of the waters off Nicaragua, questioned spending on new weapons systems, and preached caution in regard to American military actions abroad. In 1998, he questioned whether the United States' cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan were morally justifiable.

In 1999, during the Kosovo War, he used his weekly column in the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, to challenge repeatedly the morality of NATO's bombing campaign of Yugoslavia, suggesting that it did not meet the Catholic Church's criteria for a just war and going so far as to ask, "Does the relentless bombing of Yugoslavia prove the power of the Western world or its weakness?" Three years before the 9/11 attacks on New York City, O'Connor insisted that the traditional just war principles must be applied to evaluate the morality of military responses to unconventional warfare and terrorism.

Organized labor relations
O'Connor's father was a union member, and O'Connor was also a passionate defender of organized labor and an advocate for the poor and the homeless. Early in his tenure, O'Connor set a pro-labor direction for the Archdiocese. During a strike in 1984 by 1199, the largest health care workers union in New York, O'Connor strongly criticized the League of Voluntary Hospitals, of which the Archdiocese was a member, for threatening to fire striking union members who refused to return to work, calling it "strikebreaking" and vowing that no Catholic hospital would do so.

The following year, when a contract with 1199 still had not been reached, he threatened to break with the League and settle with the union unilaterally to reach an agreement "that gives justice to the workers".
In his homily during a Labor Day Mass at St. Patrick's in 1986, O'Connor expressed his strong commitment to organized labor:
[S]o many of our freedoms in this country, so much of the building up of society, is precisely attributable to the union movement, a movement that I personally will defend despite the weakness of some of its members, despite the corruption with which we are all familiar that pervades all society, a movement that I personally will defend with my life....

In 1987, when the television broadcast employees union was on strike against NBC, a non-union crew from NBC appeared at the Cardinal's residence to cover one of O'Connor's press conferences. O'Connor declined to admit them, directing his secretary to "tell them they're not invited."
Following his death, SEIU 1199, published a 12-page tribute to O'Connor, calling him "the patron saint of working people" and describing his support for low-wage and other workers and his efforts in helping limousine drivers unionize, helping end the strike at The Daily News in 1990, and pushing for fringe benefits for minimum-wage home health care workers.

Relations with the Jewish community
O'Connor played an active role in Catholic-Jewish relations. He strongly denounced anti-Semitism, declaring that one "cannot be a faithful Christian and an anti-Semite. They are incompatible, because anti-Semitism is a sin." He wrote an apology to Jewish leaders in New York for past harm done to the Jewish community.
O'Connor criticized Swiss banks' failure to compensate victims of the Holocaust, which he called "a human rights issue, an issue of the human race."Even when disagreeing with him over political questions, Jewish leaders acknowledged that O'Connor was "a friend, a powerful voice against anti-Semitism".

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called him, "a true friend and champion of Catholic-Jewish relations [and] a humanitarian who used the power of his pulpit to advocate for disadvantaged people throughout the world and in his own community." Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel called O'Connor, "a good Christian" and a man "who understands our pain."

Relations with the gay community
O'Connor adhered to the traditional Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law, intrinsically immoral and therefore never permissible, while homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered but not in themselves sinful. He resisted attempts within the Church to modify that traditional understanding and was frequently at odds with New York's gay community during his tenure as Archbishop.

O'Connor actively opposed Executive Order 50, a mayoral order issued in 1980 by Mayor Ed Koch which required all City contractors, including religious entities, to provide services on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, creed, age, sex, handicap, as well as "sexual orientation or affectational preference".

After the Salvation Army received a warning from the City that its contracts for child care services would be canceled for refusing to comply with the executive order's provisions regarding sexual orientation, the Archdiocese of New York and Agudath Israel, an Orthodox Jewish organization, threatened to cancel their contracts with the City if forced to comply. O'Connor maintained that the executive order would cause the Church to appear to condone homosexual practices and lifestyle.

Writing in Catholic New York in January 1985, O'Connor characterized the order as "an exceedingly dangerous precedent [that would] invite unacceptable governmental intrusion into and excessive entanglement with the Church's conducting of its own internal affairs." Drawing the traditional Catholic distinction between homosexual "inclinations" and "behavior", he stated that "we do not believe that homosexual behavior ... should be elevated to a protected category."

We do not believe that religious agencies should be required to employ those engaging in or advocating homosexual behavior. We are willing to consider on a case-by-case basis the employment of individuals who have engaged in or may at some future time engage in homosexual behavior. We approach those who have engaged in or may engage in what the Church considers illicit heterosexual behavior the same way.... We believe, however, that only a religious agency itself can properly determine the requirements of any particular job within that agency, and whether or not a particular individual meets or is reasonably likely to meet such requirements.

Subsequently, the Salvation Army, the Archdiocese and Agudath Israel, together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, brought suit against the City of New York to overturn the executive order on the grounds that the Mayor had exceeded his executive authority in issuing it. In September 1984, the New York Supreme Court agreed with the religious entities and struck down that part of the executive order that prohibited discrimination based upon "sexual orientation or affectational preference" on the grounds that the Mayor had exceeded his authority. In June 1985, New York's highest court upheld the lower court's decision striking down the executive order.

O'Connor vigorously and actively opposed City and State legislation guaranteeing the civil rights of homosexual persons, including legislation (supported by then-Mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani) prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations and employment.

O'Connor also supported the decision by the Ancient Order of Hibernians to exclude the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from marching as such under its own banner in New York's St. Patrick's Day parade.

The Hibernians argued that their decision as to which organizations may march in the parade, which honors St. Patrick, a Catholic saint, was protected by the First Amendment and that they could not be compelled to admit a group whose beliefs conflicted with theirs. In 1992, in a decision criticized by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the City of New York ordered the Hibernians to admit the gay organization to march in the parade.

The City subsequently denied the Hibernians a permit for the parade until, in 1993, a federal judge in New York held that the City's permit denial was "patently unconstitutional" because the parade was private, not public, and constituted "a pristine form of speech" as to which the parade sponsor had a right to control the content and tone.

O'Connor also prohibited a pro-homosexual group from meeting in New York parishes. O'Connor celebrated Mass with members of Courage, a Catholic ministry to homosexual men and women that seeks to encourage them to abstain from sexual relations and live chastely in accordance with church teachings.

HIV and contraception controversy
The Cardinal opposed condom distribution as an AIDS-prevention measure, viewing it as being contrary to the Church's teaching that contraception is immoral and its use a sin. O'Connor rejected the argument that condoms distributed to gay men are not contraceptives. O'Connor's response was that using an "evil act" was not justified by good intentions, and that the Church should not be seen as encouraging sinful acts among others (other fertile heterosexual couples who might wrongly interpret his narrow support as license for their own contraception).

He also claimed that sexual abstinence is a sure way to prevent infection, claiming condoms were only 50% effective against HIV transmission. HIV activist group ACT-UP was appalled by the Cardinal's apparent opinion that it was sinful for an HIV positive person to use a condom to prevent transmission of HIV to his HIV negative partner, an opinion they believe would translate directly into more deaths. This caused many of the confrontations between the group and the Cardinal.
Cardinal O'Connor considered himself very supportive of those who were infected with AIDS and HIV. Early on in the AIDS epidemic, he approved the opening of a specialized AIDS unit to provide medical care for the sick and dying in St. Clare's Hospital in Manhattan, the first of its kind in the state. He often nurtured and ministered to dying AIDS patients, many of whom were homosexual.

Even though he frequently condemned homosexuals (some members of ACT-UP had protested in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in O'Connor's absence, to protest, holding placards such as "Cardinal O'Connor Loves Gay People...If They Are Dying of AIDS", when O'Connor had been appointed to Reagan's AIDS commission), he would not allow his moral differences to interfere with ministering to them. As USA Today reported, he "washed the hair and emptied bedpans of dying AIDS patients, some too sick to know who he was."

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo once said "No place in the country are they working more aggressively to help AIDS patients than in the archdiocese."

In 1987, O'Connor was appointed to President Ronald Reagan's Commission on the HIV Epidemic, known as the Watkins Commission, serving alongside 12 other members, none of whom were AIDS experts, including James D. Watkins, Richard DeVos and Penny Pullen.

The Commission was initially controversial among HIV researchers and activists as lacking expertise on the disease and as being in disarray.

The Watkins Commission surprised many of its critics, however, by issuing a final report in 1988 that lent conservative support for antibias laws to protect HIV-positive people, on-demand treatment for drug addicts, and the speeding of AIDS-related research.

The New York Times praised the Commission's "remarkable strides" and its proposed $2 billion campaign against AIDS among drug addicts. The Watkins Commission's recommendations were similar to the recommendations subsequently made by a committee of HIV experts appointed by the National Academy of Sciences.

Illness and death
When O'Connor reached the retirement age for bishops of 75 in January 1995, he submitted his resignation to the Pope as required, but the Pope did not accept it. In 1999, O'Connor was diagnosed as having a brain tumor, to which he eventually succumbed. He continued to serve as Archbishop of New York until his death. He died in the Archbishop's residence on May 3, 2000 and was interred in the crypt beneath the altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Former President George H.W. Bush, Governor of Texas George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki and New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani were among the dignitaries who attended his funeral in St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano. The eulogy was delivered by Cardinal William W. Baum. He was succeeded as Archbishop of New York by Edward Egan.

Cardinal O'Connor was posthumously awarded the Jackie Robinson Empire State Medal of Freedom by the Governor of New York George Pataki on December 21, 2000. On March 7, 2000 O'Connor was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by unanimous support in the United States Senate and only one vote against the resolution in the United States House of Representatives. Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, opposed on the grounds that awarding the medal was not among the powers of Congress listed in the Constitution.

O'Connor's tenure earned him the enmity of New York's gay community. O'Connor was a favorite object of scorn and ridicule in ACT UP's demonstrations, the most prominent of which was a protest at St. Patrick's Cathedral on December 10, 1989. Michael Petrelis, a founding member of ACT UP, was arrested along with 110 others. "We will not be silent,", he screamed before his arrest. "We will fight O'Connor's bigotry". Later, he indicated that the group "came to St. Patrick's in 1989 to repel the church's destructive intrusion into public policies concerning AIDS, gay civil rights and women's reproductive rights."

The strong feelings that Cardinal O'Connor's campaigning against gay civil rights inspired were evoked at his passing, when Time Out New York, a weekly city entertainment guide, expressed relief at his death, calling it one of the best things to happen to the gay community in 2000 saying "The press eulogized him as a saint, when in fact, the pious creep was a stuck-in-the-1950s anti-gay menace. Good riddance!".

The resulting cries of outrage forced the magazine to apologize for the insensitive tone of the statement, but Time Out New York stood by its view that the Cardinal was an "impediment to gay and lesbian progress. Carmen Vázquez, a spokeswoman for the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, opined that Cardinal O’Connor had "made the lives of gays and lesbians miserable with his public comments and opposition to their way of life."

Brendan Fay, of the Catholic gay group DignityUSA, summarized that "O'Connor will certainly not be remembered as a friend or advocate at our time of greatest need." (O'Connor had issued an order ending Dignity's masses in 1987, sparking protests. O'Connor had Dignity legally banned from attending services in the cathedral. After eight years of protests by the group, O'Connor started meeting with the group twice a year.)

Fay continued, saying that the cardinal's famed compassion did not extend to homosexuals. "What we will maybe remember most as representative of the cardinal's stance toward our community is the closed doors of the cathedral." Jeff Stone, a spokesman for DignityUSA, did note, "We are saddened by his death."
To honor his distinguished service as a US Navy chaplain, the Catholic Center at the Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey, CA, is named the O'Connor Center. The largest student run pro-life conference in the U.S. is named in his honor. It is held every year at Georgetown University the day before the annual March for Life.

Cathedral Conference, Mass To Remember Cardinal O'Connor
An afternoon conference and Memorial Mass for Cardinal John O'Connor on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his death will be held at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Monday, May 3.
Cardinal O'Connor was Archbishop of New York from 1984 until he died on May 3, 2000, at age 80.
Archbishop Dolan will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass at 5:30 p.m. The conference, beginning at 4 p.m., is titled "John Cardinal O'Connor: A Legacy of Courageous Love."
The Mass and conference are both open to the public.
Speakers will include Archbishop Dolan; Cardinal Egan, archbishop emeritus, who succeeded Cardinal O'Connor as Archbishop of New York; Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, a former rector of St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, who was consecrated a bishop by Cardinal O'Connor in 1996; and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., superior general of the Sisters of Life, the religious order founded by Cardinal O'Connor in 1991.
Also speaking will be Edward I. Koch, Mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989 and a close friend of Cardinal O'Connor's; Helen Alvare, a professor at George Mason University School of Law and former director of information and planning for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Mary Ward, the cardinal's sister; and Rabbi Moses Birnbaum.

John O'Connor:you are also inspirtual individual especially for the Catholic Church. I admire your work and I was privelege to recieve holy communion and a prayer over me at one of your masses. I was also honored to attend your awake in 2000. I miss you, you should be a saint. You were truly a courageous and brave man who shares the same birthday as Rev. Martin Luther King Junior, may you rest in peace on this day after 10 years!- MFPS

New York's Cardinal O'ConnorOn May 3, John Cardinal O’Connor, the Archbishop of New York, died at his official residence behind St. Patrick's Cathedral. But his legacy lives on...his words, his concern for the sanctity of life, efforts on behalf of the poor, the sick and the homeless, his defense of the unborn, his concern for his priests and his support for New York's Catholic schools.
"Every priest would like to be remembered as a priest and all that it conveys, rather than as a public figure with all that it conveys," Cardinal O’Connor once reflected when asked how he would like to be remembered. He then added, "I regularly go down to the crypt under St. Patrick’s Cathedral and I look at the tombs of my predecessors. Right in the center is the next marble block with no inscription. That’s reserved for me. And all that’s important when I move into the crypt is that I have served New York as a very good priest." And a very good priest he was.
The Cardinal will be remembered as a strong and faithful shepherd. At a time when Catholics in America were increasingly inclined to take a "cafeteria stand on matters of faith and morals", Cardinal O'Connor continued to proclaim Church teaching on birth control, abortion and homosexuality.
The one teaching of the Church that defined his ministry was the sanctity of life…at any age and at any stage. He is best known for his stand against abortion. To him, it was simple: Abortion is murder. It is a sin. But he did more than just talk about it. He was committed to the right to life and showed his concern by wearing on the lapel of his black clerical suit a tiny red rose with its stem spelling out "l-i-f-e". He participated at the annual Right to Life March held in Washington, DC, and formed a religious community, the Sisters of Life who are dedicated to protecting the sacredness of all human life beginning with the infant in the womb to those vulnerable to the threat of euthanasia. In addition, he repeated an offer many times to any woman in need: "go to him for help rather than abort her child". The Archdiocese of New York and Catholic charities responded by providing hundreds of women with medical assistance, housing, adoption and legal services, as well as, the Cardinal himself counseling women in difficult situations.
Cardinal O’Connor, the fourth of five children, was born in a row house in a blue-collar Philadelphia neighborhood on January 15, 1920. His father, Thomas O’Connor, was his hero and his mother, Mary Gomble O’Connor, experienced both a sudden blindness and recovery that impacted Cardinal O’Connor with a sensitivity to disabled people for the rest of his life.
He attended public schools until he was a junior in high school. Under the Christian Brothers of West Catholic High, he was inspired to take up a religious life. He entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia at age 16 and was ordained nine years later on December 15, 1945, a month before his 26th birthday. Cardinal O'Connor and his 21 classmates promised to return for a reunion every year on that date, and the Cardinal kept that promise except for his years in Korea and Vietnam, and last year because he was ill.
After ordination, he worked as a diocesan priest for seven years. His days and nights were full with teaching at a Catholic high school, night school for adults, hosting a weekly, Catholic, radio news program, and volunteering in two psychiatric hospital wards.
In 1953, Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, who was also responsible for providing the Church’s chaplains to the U.S. Armed Forces, pleaded for more chaplains. Cardinal O’Connor responded and entered the Navy. When he retired 27 years later, he had risen to Rear Admiral and Chief of Chaplains of the US Navy. Later as an Archbishop and member of the Episcopal Commission that spent two years drafting the American bishops' 1983 pastoral letter on war and peace, he influenced the bishops in America to tone down criticism of U.S. nuclear policies.
After leaving the Navy in 1979, he was made an Auxiliary Bishop and assigned to the Military Vicarate under Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York. In May 1983 he was appointed Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He held that post less than a year before being chosen to succeed Cardinal Cooke - who died of cancer - as the Archbishop of New York. He was elevated to Cardinal in May 1985.
On his 75th birthday, as required by Church law, he submitted his resignation, but Pope John Paul II asked him to stay on and he did for another five years. On January 16, 2000, the Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral celebrated the Cardinal’s birthday, one day after he turned 80. As he entered the Cathedral, Cardinal O’Connor received a standing ovation from the 3,000 people gathered. During his remarks, the Cardinal said his Sundays in the Cathedral had been among his happiest times.
During his years in the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal O’Connor was active in many areas – from ministering to both the rich and down trodden, to preaching it was important to live your faith in both politics and even on the baseball field. He would donate his Social Security benefits to a black scholarship fund and give blood to the Red Cross and ask others to "give" too. In the quiet of the night, he was known to visit AIDS patients at an archdiocesan hospital and could be found listening to them, cleaning their sores and changing their bedpans.
Perhaps one person who touched his life most deeply was Mother Teresa. He once stated, "Mother Teresa offered me one of the most precious gifts that I have received by telling me, ‘Only if we share the light of Almighty God do our lives become truly meaningful.’ " It is interesting to note that the last public appearance of Cardinal O’Connor was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 5, 2000, when he spoke about Mother Teresa.
The Funeral Mass for John Cardinal O’Connor was held on Monday, May 8, 2000, and he was buried in the crypt beneath the main altar of the Cathedral at St. Patrick’s in New York.

Cardinal John O'Connor gets last word at his own funeral
05/19/2000 By John Mallon*
Columns by John Mallon
BERNARD Law did his old friend proud.
For those who missed it, the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston preached at the funeral of his close friend John O'Connor, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. O'Connor was a bold and fierce preacher on the subject closest to his heart: the sanctity of human life.
The funeral, broadcast live nationwide, was attended by the president and vice president, their wives and numerous dignitaries including the mayor of New York City.
At one point in the sermon, O'Connor's hand picked homilist said, "What a great legacy he has left us in his constant reminder that the Church must always be unambiguously pro- life."
There was a beat and then applause broke out. It grew louder, increasing as the cameras fixed on the Clinton-Gore party showing them on screens throughout the cathedral. Cardinal Law attempted to quiet the crowd with his hand, when suddenly the congregation began to stand up, applauding in a wave that moved from the back of the church to the front. If it hadn't been a funeral they would have cheered. It was a defiant, pivotal moment.
Then the bishops and cardinals in the sanctuary stood up. The elder George Bush stood up applauding, as did his son somewhere off camera. The camera panned back to the Clinton- Gore party who looked bemused and bewildered.
Having no water glasses to reach for as they did in 1994 when Mother Teresa received a thunderous ovation for telling the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that there could be no peace as long as a mother could kill the child in her womb, Clinton leaned back and started whispering in Hillary's ear. Gore's face was as blank, flat and white as a sheet of paper. Behind them another abortion "rights" supporter, Rudy Giuliani, began to applaud, albeit weakly, and stood. And lest they be the only ones left seated, the Clintons and Gores lamely stood up but refrained from applauding.
It was not Cardinal Law's intent to embarrass anyone. He was merely doing his job and honoring his friend. The vehement applause came from the people.
When the applause subsided, Law quipped, "I see he hasn't left the pulpit." Even a news commentator said it was as if O'Connor himself had spoken "from beyond the grave." Even through the TV screen you could feel the presence of that humble but larger than life churchman fill St. Patrick's Cathedral one last time, driving home the message he lived.
The leaders of the free world are currently the hierarchy of the culture of death and it is difficult to know what those poll-conscious politicians took away from that anointed moment, but I have some suggestions.
Perhaps they can no longer smugly snicker up their sleeves, take the Catholic vote for granted and play us for suckers. They can no longer ridicule other Christians and pro-lifers while claiming to be "compassionate" and "for the children" as they condone scissors being driven into infants' skulls, their brains sucked out and the unborn chopped into pieces and sucked out of their mothers with industrial strength vacuum machines. They are on the wrong side of history. In no small part thanks to John O'Connor, the future belongs to life.
Well done, Cardinal O'Connor. Requiéscat in pacem.

Catholic Exchange - http://catholicexchange.com -
Thank You, Cardinal O’Connor
Posted By Fr. Frank Pavone On May 3, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Fr. Frank Pavone
It has been ten years since the death of New York’s archbishop, Cardinal John O’Connor. He died of a brain tumor on May 3, 2000, but had he not become ill, his sister Mary Ward has her own conviction of when and how he would have died.
“He would have died in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, along with Fr. Mychal Judge,” Mary said to me. Fr. Judge was the first officially recorded victim of the September 11 terrorist attack, killed as he ministered to people in the lobby of the World Trade Center north tower after the initial attack. Cardinal O’Connor would have rushed to the scene as soon as he heard of the attack.
The Cardinal was an exemplary priest and bishop, teacher and leader. Catholics rightly take pride in how he gave witness to the Faith and to what the Church is all about. Priests and bishops drew strength for their ministry by following his example.
But his appeal, much like that of his friends Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, reaches far beyond the Catholic world. He was a witness to humanity, to its meaning and its dignity. His ecclesiastical motto was “There can be no love without justice,” and he was committed to promoting both.
He eased racial tensions, helped resolve labor disputes, held starving children in Ethiopia, intervened in crises in Cuba and Central America, and much more. Yet his motivations were not secular; they were rooted in Christ. That accounts for what the world sees as the paradox of a man whose compassion was as strong as his orthodoxy.
He taught unapologetically, for instance, that homosexual activity was contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the Church. Yet he opened New York State’s first AIDS-only unit, at St. Clare’s Hospital, and gave thousands of hours of personal volunteer service to the AIDS patients, emptying their bedpans and tending to their other needs.
He was loud and clear about the immorality of abortion. Yet from his first moment in New York, he issued an urgent invitation to any woman anywhere who felt tempted to abort her child. “Come to me,” he said. “The resources of the Archdiocese of New York will be at your service to assist you and your child.” It was a promise he repeated continually.
Along with founding the Sisters of Life, he was instrumental in starting Priests for Life. After ordaining me and letting me do parish work for several years, he gave me permission to head Priests for Life on a full-time basis. “I know of no effort more noble, more timely or important than the recruitment of our clergy in the cause for life,” he later wrote to me. “I remain convinced that the Priests for Life, by their Masses, prayers and example, will cause this great country to one day again follow God’s Will for Life.”
Thank you, Cardinal O’Connor, for being a mentor to me and so many others!