John Cardinal O'Connor

John Paul II - and the new Cardinal O'Connor


 ... a good person - cheerful giver - a much loved soul ...
Many decades from now, these living memories of the man will begin to pass.  Fewer and fewer will have known the sound of his voice, the largeness of his presence, the sting of his rebuke, his marvelous sense of humor, or the breadth of his compassion.  But future generations will know at least this about the 11th leader of the archdiocese:  He was a man who left a mark on his time.  A moral leader not only in title, but in truth. A defender of the faith, the very kind who have kept the faith alive for two millennia.  A great man in a high place.  And also for 80 years on this Earth, a good person, a cheerful giver and a much loved soul.  Remarks by the President at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring John Cardinal    COMPLETE ADDRESS
"gallant defender of children in their vulnerability, their innocence and their right to be born."
George Bush - President of the United States


... Please tell the people this ...
          "I want," he said, "to remind the people that we must be kind to each other, we must be gentle. Our world moves so fast but we must never forget that love is truly the only thing that matters." In his too humble manner, he reflected, "I do not know why my life led me to any sort of prominence. I am not special. I am only an ordinary man. But if my position now permits me to be heard in some way, I want to spend the rest of my life devoted only to love, to doing good, to being prayerful. And we must never forget that we must help each other. We must all spend our lives in love. Please tell the people this." Shared by Eileen Ward Christian, niece   COMPLETE TEXT


... visiting - washing - holding ...
... the Cardinal was not merely a man of words - He was a man of action. When appointed to President Reagan's Commission on AIDS, he began to minister personally to persons with AIDS - visiting them, washing them, holding them. He didn't merely talk against abortion, rather repeatedly offered assistance to any mother in a difficult pregnancy. He pioneered Project Rachel, a beautiful ministry of post-abortion healing. He could be seen late at night visiting a wounded policeman or a woman assaulted in Central Park.   Most Reverend William E. Lori, St. Matthew Cathedral -  COMPLETE HOMILY-MASS

...  he is truly a ‘priest for life.’ ...
"Wherever I go in the world, people express to me their gratitude for the Cardinal’s leadership," Fr. Pavone said. "The love and respect that pro-lifers have for him is truly inspiring. We at Priests for Life are honored and proud to be counted as part of his pro-life legacy."
"Although he is an Archbishop and a Cardinal, the greatest joy of His Eminence is simply to be a priest, and he is truly a ‘priest for life.’ Throughout my seminary years, listening to the Cardinal preach on pro-life issues clearly and compassionately was my best pro-life formation. He is responsible for so much of the success we have had at Priests for Life in the last seven years. The Cardinal has helped us every step of the way, both publicly and behind-the-scenes, and he deserves much of the credit for the enormous growth we have experienced. It is only fitting that we name our new building [International Headquarters of Priests for Life]  after him."
Father Pavone - Priests for Life  COMPLETE  ARTICLE

... was wonderful to work with ...
"I learned an awful lot. He was very patient...He was very honest, very hard working, very prayerful," Msgr. Walsh said. "I think the hard work flowed from his prayers--the Office and the Mass. I think he was the first archbishop to say Mass in the cathedral every day. He had a strong reverence for the Mass and the Eucharist. We'd fly to Rome, which is a nine-hour flight overnight, and the first thing he'd do when we got there was say Mass, not go to bed.   Msgr. Gerald T. Walsh  (the cardinal's secretary -1996 to 1998).


... with his usual aplomb ...
  As a Navy Captain, Cardinal O’Connor was the first Catholic to be assigned as the Senior Chaplain at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973. This caused some consternation with regard to the assignment of the living quarters normally provided to the Senior Chaplain and his family (should a bachelor occupy this very large home?). Then Captain O’Connor handled the issue with his usual aplomb. He kept the spacious quarters full of his “family” with a niece and children of the military families on duty at the Academy assisting with the many social and religious activities. The quarters were put to good use.

... a proper perspective ...
  Cardinal O’Connor’s assignment to the Naval Academy immediately followed the end of the Vietnam War. He spent countless hours personally developing, writing and publishing a four volume lesson series entitled The Midshipman and the Human Person in an attempt to give the Midshipmen a proper perspective of the moral and leadership issues of that very unpopular war.

... the number of worshippers is about the same ...
 The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lawsuit stating that it was “unconstitutional” for the Naval Academy to require attendance at religious services. At the time Midshipmen had their choice but were required by regulation to attend a religious service on Sunday. The first Sunday when attendance by Midshipmen was no longer required Cardinal O’Connor expressed the following thought at Mass; “I notice that attendance is down today, but I believe the number of worshippers is about the same”.

... All I really want to do now ...
 Finally, I clearly recall Captain O’Connor, near the end of his tour of duty at the Naval Academy in 1975, confiding in me; “All I really want to do now is retire as a navy Captain and go to a small Parish in Pennsylvania”.  shared by Capt Jack Renard USN (ret), Dean of Admissions US Naval Academy during Chaplain O'Connor's tour of duty (1973-75).

... John was highly respected by all! ...
I was on duty at the Bureau of Naval Personnel 1978-79.  I worked directly for Vice Admiral Joe Metcalf.  At that time John O'Connor was the Chief of Chaplains, serving as a Rear Admiral (CHC). John was a very dynamic person as we all know and remember.  I can remember VADM Metcalf coming back from the morning line up (Line up was the morning briefing that the Chief of Naval Personal had daily.)  All of his direct reports, and all were flag officers, went to the line up).  I remember VADM Metcalf coming back from those briefings always saying that the "Chaplain always asked the most incisive questions even better questions than the line officers that were at those briefings".  John was highly respected by all!    Paul Sutherland, Rear Admiral   USN (ret)


... he may once again ...
My prayer for our cardinal is that when God calls him, as he will all of us, that he is given a position of authority in heaven where he may once again work the magic he works here on earth.   Mayor Edward Koch
... do a better job of educating them ...
I remember a few years ago, I heard him say the he wanted to take 1,000 youngster from the public schools who were not doing well, who were having academic difficulties or other difficulties. He wanted to take them into Catholic schools and see if he could improve their education as a way to help, as a way to relieve some of the burden. And maybe, if it worked, set up some of the criteria for how you can take children at risk and do a better job of educating them.  Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani   RUDY ONLINE
... He was a mensch ...
"Of all the people I've known, he stands out," he told CNY. "He had so much integrity. He was always true to himself, and that self was principled. He was not afraid to say he was wrong. He had courage." He said he was particularly impressed by the cardinal's ability to occupy center stage in the media "without in any way being duplicitous or fake. ... There are so few public figures in politics, religion or the arts who can project such authenticity," he said. He used a Yiddish term of approbation: "He was a mensch."
He enjoyed the cardinal's sense of humor and relishes a remark the cardinal made as Hentoff introduced him at a pro-life conference in Toronto about eight years ago. Hentoff, who strongly opposes abortion, had called for more research into nonabortifacient contraception. At the mike the cardinal deadpanned, "I'm delighted that Nat is not a member of the Church. We have enough trouble as it is." (Nat Hentoff is the author of the biography, John Cardinal O'Connor)  from an article by Claudia McDonnell  COMPLETE ARTICLE
... what is a mensch? ...
In Micah 6:8 the profit says: "He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" This is a mensch.  A mensch is one who loves mercy, walks humbly, does justly, doing the will of the Lord.  The ultimate mensch for Christians  is Jesus as he always did his Fathers will.  We are all called to be a mensch.

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