INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY CARDINAL ANGELO
Monday, 8 May 2000
Mr President and Distinguished Guests,
We begin this Eucharistic sacrifice which we offer for our beloved Cardinal O'Connor who has left us.
It is a sacrifice of praise to almighty God, who has given us in the person of the Archbishop of New York such a generous and faithful pastor. It is a hymn of gratitude to the Father in heaven for the gift of this great churchman who has done so much both for the Catholic community and for so many men and women of good will. His name will be forever etched on the annals of the history of the Church.
Our hearts are heavy with sorrow at his passing, but today we want to remember the prayer of the saints: "Lord, we do not complain because you have taken him from us, but rather we will thank you for having given him to us".
This sacrifice of praise is also our prayer for the Cardinal's eternal rest. The Church teaches us that every human being is imperfect and needs the mercy of God. Therefore, we wish to entrust to God, our loving Father of Mercies, this good and faithful servant, as we ask him to welcome him into the kingdom of the saints and angels.
As a sign of his profound esteem for the late Cardinal O'Connor and to demonstrate concretely his spiritual union with the Church in New York, the Holy Father sent me to represent him personally at this solemn liturgy. I wish to reiterate the expression of his condolences along with my own to the entire archdiocesan family, to his brother, sisters and relatives, and to all those of good will who mourn his passing. Together in prayer, we beg the Lord to welcome him into paradise.