A reserved ‘thank you’ from Cardinal Egan

I’ve long admired Cardinal Egan’s columns in Catholic New York, the newspaper of the archdiocese.

He can be a fine story-teller, it seems to me. I’ve particularly liked several columns about past pilgrimages and various encounters with interesting people of all sorts.

I was once assured that he did indeed write them himself and that he did so at a manual typewriter, with great care.

So I was kind of looking forward to his grand finale — his final column, which appears in the new CNY.

Also, his recent statements to a radio interviewer about the need for the Catholic Church to consider optional celibacy for priests had me thinking that he might go out with a bang.

Nope.

His final column — called “A Thank You” — is a rather muted piece that reveals little.

The cardinal expresses his admiration for the various groups who make up the archdiocese — priests, permanent deacons, religious men and women, the laity, people of other faiths, the parishes.

Then he reiterates a few rather obvious priorities — education, Catholic Charities, health care, the seminary system.

He thanks the offices of the archdiocese for helping him, stating that “Thanks to them, the Archdiocese is free of debt, fiscally secure, properly structured and looking forward into a bright future.”

Then he wraps things up, somewhat abruptly, with graciousness:

*****

There is much more that I could and should say. However, I fear I may have already worn out my welcome in the pages of this highly respected and growing Archdiocesan publication. Permit me to conclude by simply assuring the People of God of the Archdiocese of New York that I will never celebrate a Mass without mentioning them by name to the Lord. To have served as their bishop has been an honor and privilege beyond anything I might have ever imagined.

*****

And that’s all, folks.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.