New Yorkers to pay respects to Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop during 9/11 attacks

Cardinal Edward Egan played a prominent role in New York City after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and now New Yorkers are preparing to pay respects to the former archbishop after his death last week.

Public visitation and a vigil Mass are scheduled at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Monday for Egan.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the current archbishop of New York, is to deliver the homily at Egan's funeral Mass Tuesday at St. Patrick's, where Egan will be buried beneath the high altar.

Egan died Thursday at 82. He retired in 2009 after nine years of leading the Archdiocese of New York, which serves about 2.6 million Catholics in about 400 parishes in parts of the city and its northern suburbs.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Egan anointed the dead and distributed rosaries to workers as they searched for survivors. Egan later presided over victims' funerals, sometimes three a day.

"His thoughtful and compassionate stewardship helped New Yorkers grieve and recover," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week.

Still, Egan faced criticism when he left the city, weeks after the attacks, for a Vatican synod, a month-long international bishops' meeting convened by the pope. Egan said he asked repeatedly for permission to stay in New York but was told he was needed in Rome, and he later said that having his loyalty to the city questioned was "the worst thing that ever happened to me."

When Egan became archbishop, the archdiocese was running an annual deficit of about $20 million, a shortfall he said he wiped out within two years. That entailed cutting spending and laying off staffers.

An authority on church law and fluent in Latin, Egan was one of just a few experts chosen by Pope John Paul II to help with the massive job of reviewing the revised Code of Canon Law for the global church.