Cardinal Egan said he hopes the papal visit to the New York Archdiocese will offer an opportunity to focus on "what the Catholic Church is all about -- the Gospel, prayer and our commitment to justice and charity."Egan also spoke of the Pope's request to visit the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center:
He pointed out that the two main events to be held in the archdiocese will be Masses, one at St. Patrick's Cathedral April 19 and the other at Yankee Stadium April 20.
The Mass at St. Patrick's will be the first offered in the cathedral by a pope. Although Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral twice in his papacy, in 1979 and in 1995, he did not celebrate Mass there.
He said that he expects to tell Pope Benedict about his own experiences on Sept. 11, when he and his secretary, Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, saw the second tower of the trade center come down from their post outside St. Vincent's Hospital where they waiting for victims of the attack to be brought for medical attention.The Archdiocese of New York is currently celebrating its bicentennial:
The cardinal said he will speak especially of the "heroism" he saw on the part of firefighters, police officers and emergency service officers and their leadership in intensive rescue and recovery efforts that followed the attacks.
The visit will be an immense blessing for all of us," he continued. "We look forward to listening to the bishop of Rome, praying with him and celebrating with him as well.
"It is my prayer that when he returns home on April 20, we will all be a good deal closer to our Lord and Savior, whose vicar here on earth Pope Benedict XVI is," he said.