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Special Event

Bishop Edward Egan Introduced as Next Archbishop of New York

Aired May 11, 2000 - 11:02 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: And from Atlanta to New York City and Cathedral High School, Bishop Edward Egan now introduced. He will be the next archbishop in the Archdiocese of New York.

BISHOP EDWARD EGAN, NEW YORK ARCHBISHOP-ELECT: I love New York understatement don't you? My dear friends, first of all, thank you for being here. I'm of course delighted to be here myself, and I have a little statement here that I'm going to read, and then after the statement, I hope you will be free to ask questions. And I will do my best to answer.

So here is the statement. The Archdiocese of New York is an extraordinary community of faith. To be invited to serve this splendid archdiocese as its shepherd is quite humbling. The responsibility has, however, been accepted with great joy. Returning to what Pope John Paul II once described as the capital of the world, could be nothing else.

For this, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who is loved and honored across the world, has my heartfelt gratitude. He will always have, as well, my obedience and my loyalty.

This magnificent archdiocese encompasses more than 400 parishes, with almost 2 1/2 million registered members. educational institutions and programs, with nearly 270,000 under instruction, and an incredible number of charitable and health-care institutions.

Above all else, it is a beacon of justice and compassion and holiness, not only for the Catholics of the community, but also for hundreds of thousands of others who look to it for education, compassion, and even spiritual guidance.

My prayer at this time is both simple and uncomplicated, but with the grace of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, my service to the clergy, religious and lay (ph) of the Archdiocese of New York will in some measure approach the dedication of my predecessors in this office.

The clerical leadership of archdiocese's bishops, Patrick J. Sheridan, Bishop Robert A. Brucato, need to know how deeply appreciative I am of the courtesies they have shown me, since the Holy Father's decision was made known to us, by his representative to the church in the United States, Archbishop Gabriel Montavvo (ph). Permit me a final word about his eminence John Cardinal O'Connor. Since his operation last August, the cardinal suffered a great deal, and showed us all how to live with physical weakness. And this united his own suffering with sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross, as he often urged others to do. He was an inspiration to countless numbers of people, and we are grateful for his leadership, and his courage.

QUESTION: Bishop Egan, when you discovered or were told, that you were going to go, from a diocese of some 316,000 to the New York Archdiocese of over (OFF-MIKE)

EGAN: 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. But there was a second reaction, may I be permitted a second one as well. I had been here in New York, as you know, for three years and seven wonderful months. And during that time, I came to know New Yorkers, and came to know the wonderful seven counties above the three boroughs that are part of the Archdiocese of New York. And I can tell you, I know no place in the world that is quicker to accept someone who wants to be a New Yorker. And I want to be a New Yorker, and I guess I am officially one. So my second reaction was: Edward, get up off your knees when the Lord lets you, and feel welcomed home.

QUESTION: Perhaps Mrs. Clinton could give you some advice about becoming a New Yorker?

EGAN: Perhaps, Mrs. Clinton could give me some advice about being a New Yorker. This gentleman asked here. Now what I think we ought do is find out who the gentleman was, and then I will give him my answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just ask once again, if everybody would please identify yourselves when you are asking a question.

HEMMER: He is described as witty, and apparently he showed some wit and humor there. Bishop Edward Egan now named the ninth archbishop in the Archdiocese of New York City, appointed by Pope John Paul II, meeting reporters for the first time today. And saying that to serve this archdiocese, as a shepherd is, quote, "very humbling."

Indeed, Bishop Egan will replace late Cardinal John O'Connor, who passed away a week ago, complications from a brain tumor at the age of 80.

To give you a little information on Bishop Egan, he was born in Chicago. he is 68 years old, served as head of the diocese in Bridgeport, Connecticut for 12 years. He is described as a workaholic, a classical pianist, and again, a witty man who is also modest.

Again, Bishop Edward Egan introduced to the media there at Cathedral High School in New York City today.

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