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Dolan: Church thanks God for Egan

NEW YORK (AP) — Cardinal Edward Egan was God’s servant and worked tirelessly for parishes, charities, health care and education, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Tuesday at a funeral Mass for one of the most powerful prelates in the global Roman Catholic Church.

Dolan told the 2,500 people packing St. Patrick’s Cathedral that Egan “was uncomfortable with eulogies” — but went on to praise him nonetheless. He said New Yorkers from fellow clergy members to “God’s good people” could tell of “consolation given on and after 9/11, prayers offered, sick visited, prisoners encouraged, children taught, immigrants welcomed and parishes strengthened.”

“Now this church thanks God for him,” said Dolan, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

Egan, a Vatican theological force, led the New York archdiocese for almost a decade, including on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked planes decimated the World Trade Center and more than 2,700 people died. In the weeks that followed, he performed many funerals.

He died March 5 after a heart attack at age 82.

Tuesday’s music-filled service got off to a noisy start with drummers and bagpipers from the city’s police and fire departments accompanying a funeral procession along the blocked-off streets around the Manhattan cathedral. Police barriers held back crowds.

Inside, amid construction scaffolding for a yearslong renovation, solemn organ and vocal music accompanied several hundred Catholic clergy members, including almost a dozen cardinals and archbishops and about 30 bishops, as they walked slowly down the center aisle toward Egan’s casket, draped in white and gold at the foot of the altar.