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Cardinal Edward Egan, Former Bishop Of Bridgeport, Dies At 82

Cardinal Edward Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, died Thursday in Manhattan. He was 82.
Cardinal Edward Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, died Thursday in Manhattan. He was 82. Photo Credit:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Cardinal Edward Egan, a former Bishop of Bridgeport and Archbishop of New York, died Thursday in Manhattan He was 82.

Egan was the archbishop of New York, the Roman Catholic spiritual leader of the largest city in the U.S., from 2000 to 2009. He served as bishop and head of the Diocese of Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000.

Egan was pronounced dead at NYU Langone Medical Center at 2:20 p.m. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to a release from the Archdiocese of New York. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Born on April 2, 1932, in Oak Park, Ill., Egan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on Dec. 15, 1957.

From 1985 to 1988, Egan served as auxiliary bishop and vicar for education of the Archdiocese of New York. In 1988 he was appointed the Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport by Pope John Paul II.

In 2000, he was appointed Archbishop of New York and made a cardinal in 2001. He retired in 2009.

"I am saddened to tell you that our beloved Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York from 2000-2009, has gone home to the Lord," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a statement. Egan died after lunch, "with the prayers and  sacraments of his loyal priest secretary, Father Douglas Crawford, in his residence at the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary."

Dolan thanked "God for his life, especially his generous and faithful priesthood."

He expressed his sympathy to Egan's "natural family, who will grieve for their uncle," and to the faithful, "his spiritual family here in the Archdiocese of New York."

On Nov. 8, 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed Egan to be the third bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. He was installed on Dec. 14, 1988.

As Bishop of Bridgeport, Egan oversaw the regionalization of diocesan elementary schools, established Hispanic and Haitian Apostolates, founded the St. John Fisher Seminary Residence for men considering the priesthood, reorganized diocesan healthcare facilities, and initiated the Inner-City Foundation for Charity and Education.

He saw to the construction of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence for Retired Priests in Stamford, and established the Saint Catherine School for Children with Special Needs in Bridgeport as well as The Haitian Catholic Center in Stamford.

At this time he also served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Medical Center in Stamford; as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield; and as chairman of the Board of the Bishop Curtis Homes for the Elderly in 15 communities of Fairfield County.

Egan was a staunch opponent of abortion and gay marriage. He also faced controversy in Connecticut, where a number of priests in the Bridgeport Diocese were accused of sexual abuse. In April 2002, in a letter read at Masses, Egan apologized saying, "If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry." But he retracted his apology in 2012 and repeatedly denied any sexual abuse happened while he was leading Bridgeport's Diocese.

He also  faced unpopular choices in consolidating parishes and schools in the diocese.

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