Egan Named to Replace O'Connor in New York

Article excerpt

Bishop Edward M. Egan of Bridgeport, Conn., yesterday was named the ninth archbishop of New York, where he once had been vicar for education after years in Rome as a professor and judge on Vatican tribunals.

The 68-year-old Chicago native, appointed by Pope John Paul II eight days after the death of New York's Cardinal John O'Connor, has been known during his 12 years in the Connecticut diocese for drawing men to the priesthood, raising funds and improving the parochial schools.

"To be invited to serve this splendid archdiocese as its shepherd is quite humbling," Bishop Egan said yesterday at a New York news conference.

"My first reaction was, `Edward, get down on your knees and beg the Lord to give you a hand, and don't get up too quickly,' " the bishop said. Then his second thought was to "get up off your knees," for work was to be done.

Bishop Egan will become archbishop for New York's 2.4 million Roman Catholics upon his installment on June 19, and is likely to be elevated to cardinal the next time John Paul II makes such appointments.

"He is a magnificent speaker and an outgoing shepherd who knows and loves his people," said Washington Cardinal James A. Hickey, who commented on his friend's "splendid qualities of mind and heart" and fluency in Spanish and Italian.

The central pulpit of New York, St. Patrick's Cathedral, had been a newsmaking forum for Cardinal O'Connor, and friends of Bishop Egan said the tall, stately churchman can easily fill those shoes.

"He's also an imposing figure and a great preacher," Monsignor Timothy Dolan of the North American Pontifical College told the Associated Press in Rome, where the announcement was made. …