Catholics and other members of the Christian community gathered at the Cathedral of
Saint Patrick to pray the Mass of Christian Burial for Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. with Edward Michael Cardinal Egan as principal celebrant and homilist. Cardinal Dulles was buried in the Jesuit cemetery in Auriesville, NY. Cardinal Dulles died at 90 years old on Friday, 12 December 2008.
Those in attendance at the Mass included the children of his eldest brother, John W. F. Dulles, and sister-in-law, Eleanor Dulles: John Foster Dulles II, Edith Dulles Lawlis, Ellen Coelho and Robert Avery Dulles. Likewise, longtime friends John Murphy and his longtime assistant, Sister Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P., both of whom read the Scriptures.
Cardinals Maida, Keeler, George, McCarrick and O’Malley along with the Nuncios to the USA and the UN and scores of bishops and priests concelebrated the Mass; Benedictine Abbot and longtime friend Gabriel Gibbs also concelebrated the Mass. The Jesuits littered the crowd.
In his homily, Cardinal Egan recalled a crucifix he prayed in front of 50 years ago in a small rural church outside of Orvieto, Italy, while on retreat with seminarians studying in Rome. Egan connected a suffering and triumphant vision of Christ’s face. For him, and thus for us, the crucified Christ is a potent reality of our Christian life’s journey. The motif of the cross was apropos when considering the life of Avery Dulles who suffered at various times in his life (in health, in his early relationships with family & friends over his conversion to Catholicism) but he also experienced a sense of Christian hope in his relationships, academic endeavors and service and in his life as a priest. In terms of worldly success, tt was noted that Dulles published 24 books, soon to be 25 and nearly 800 published papers and talks; this after physicians told him that he would never write again. Cardinal Dulles “proved them monumentally wrong.” In Egan’s judgment: “You have the example of a triumphant life story, never matched, to my knowledge, by any other American Catholic.”
Avery Cardinal Dulles was 62 years a Jesuit, nearly 53 years a priest and nearly 8 years a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. He was the first American priest to become a cardinal but was not ordained a bishop. (In recent years new cardinals of advanced age have asked to be dispensed from the obligation to be ordained a bishop, at least this is true for Jesuits.) Dulles held The Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham since 1988.
Even in his infirmity Cardinal Dulles published his McGinley lectures in a volume edited with Fr. Robert Imbelli called Church and Society. Stay tuned, his last manuscript was sent Paulist Press and will be published under the title of Evangelization for the Third Millennium (Spring 2009).
On Wednesday, the president of Fordham University, Jesuit Father Joesph McShane, announced the creation of the new chair of theology honoring Cardinal Dulles.
See the NYTimes article.
May the angels lead you into paradise; May the martyrs welcome you upon your arrival, and lead you into the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels welcome you, and with poor Lazarus of old, may you have eternal rest.