Remembering Cardinal O’Connor — 10 years after his death

It’s hard to believe, but May 3 will be the 10th anniversary of the death of Cardinal John O’Connor.

O’Connor had been an outspoken and sometimes controversial figure, but his death was mourned by all of New York.

tjndc5-5b23gjbn63d6uqtmk3i_layoutOver four days, 150,000 people filed past his body in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay their respects.

Over 3,000 mourners filled the cathedral for the Funeral Mass, with thousands more outside listening to a broadcast of the service.

President Clinton and Hillary were there. Al Gore and Tipper, too. George H.W. Bush sat with O’Connor’s family.

I remember the roar that rose through St. Patrick’s when the homilist declared “What a great legacy he left us in his consistent reminder that the church must always be unambiguously pro-life.” (The homilist was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who had little idea that his world would come down two years later…)

Certainly, a big part of O’Connor’s legacy was his strong opposition to abortion. He started the Sisters of Life religious order to promote the church’s pro-life teachings.

tjndc5-5b1xm9on8c1176tizgqo_layoutLater this month, on Saturday, March 27, the Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York will hold an all-day conference “honoring the legacy of Cardinal O’Connor” at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.

Archbishop Dolan will get things started with his talk: “Cardinal O’Connor: Priest and Churchman for Our Times.”

Also scheduled to speak: Helen Alvare, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law; Father Charles Connor, historian for the Diocese of Scranton; and Mother Agnes Mary, superior general of the Sisters of Life.

The admission fee is $25, including lunch.

For info: www.flrl.org or 212-371-1011, ext. 3195.

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.