Archbishop who eulogized John Kennedy dies
Archbishop Philip Hannan, shown here Sept. 15, 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, died Thursday.
September 29th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

Archbishop who eulogized John Kennedy dies

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -
Retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip Hannan, who served in that role for 23 years and gave the eulogy at the funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy, died in his sleep Thursday.

"At 98, he lived a full life dedicated to God and his church. We will miss him. We commend him to the Lord," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Hannan served the archdiocese of New Orleans from 1965 until 1988. He had become increasingly frail in recent months due to a series of strokes and other health problems, the archdiocese said.

He was called a "dynamo" in building affordable apartments for the poor and elderly. Even after retirement, Hannan was never far from the public spotlight.

Hannan, a World War II paratroops chaplain, befriended Kennedy in the late 1940s. He was asked by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy to deliver the eulogy at the November 25, 1963, funeral Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, according to the Clarion Herald, the archdiocese's newspaper.

"Today, New Orleans has lost one of its greatest leaders in our nearly 300-year history," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. "A World War II veteran, he assumed the role of Archbishop during one of our city's most difficult periods, just on the heels of Hurricane Betsy. A builder in the truest form and a man dedicated to education, from his earliest days he led the rebuilding of badly damaged churches and schools and drove the creation of a strong Catholic school system throughout the Archdiocese."

One of eight children born to an Irish immigrant, Hannan was ordained auxiliary bishop of Washington in 1956. He was attending the final session of Vatican II when Pope Paul VI appointed him the 11th archbishop of New Orleans in 1965, three weeks after Hurricane Betsy ravaged the city.

He retired one year after Pope John Paul II visited New Orleans.

Hannan, who rode out Hurricane Katrina in 2005, published his memoirs, "The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots," in 2010.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond said Hannan was a great shepherd and was beloved.

"People knew him and recognized him as THE archbishop of New Orleans," Aymond said in a statement. "I think that was a testament to the love, admiration and affection that people have for him. It never bothered me in any way when I heard people talking about THE archbishop and meaning it was Archbishop Hannan."

Public visitation will be held Monday evening until 1 p.m. Wednesday at Notre Dame Seminary Chapel. After a funeral procession, visitation will continue Wednesday and October 6 at St. Louis Cathedral. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. October 6 at the cathedral, where the archbishop will be interred.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. mlo

    shame on those who say hateful things about this man. He has died and many looked up to him. What a bunch of haters you are.

    October 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • geraldh

      It's not that they care about the victims of abuse. They clearly do not for if they did they would do something besides post venom and perversion on these boards. No they only want to vent thier hatred at any Catholic clergy and make unproven accusations because it somehow makes them feel superior. Though it is clear to all who are reasonable that their hatred and irrational statements make them inferior.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Catholic4Ever

    A true warrior of the Catholic Faith.

    Bob Smith – May God have mercy on you and hope you find him before it is too late.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Fragistan

      You want war? You got it. Just remember that YOU started it. Catholics are pure shlt with shlt coming out of their mouths ALL THE TIME.

      September 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • mlo

      well said Catholic4ever

      October 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  3. Tomcat

    Wow...it took a whole 5 comments before someone wrote a jack8ss post. WAKE UP, TROLLS!

    September 30, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  4. ?

    Good story.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  5. when

    Sounds like a man that accomplished multiple great things for his community. Unfortunately, this story will attract numerous posts from people that accomplish not much more than sitting at their computers 24/7 and God-bashing, missing the whole point and spewing their mindless, moronic hatred. RIP Mr. Hannan.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • TC

      You are so right – we see it all the time.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  6. hippypoet

    right so the t!tle of this article should read "Archbishop who eulogized John Kennedy at his funeral or at his death... not Archbishop who eulogized John Kennedy dies – stupid cnn! what this t!tle really says is some religious dude spoke at someones death and killed a kenndy while doing it! now thats funny!

    September 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Laura

      Your comment is really abrasive. This is a huge loss for our city and the state of Louisiana. He was an outstanding bishop and a really great man- that served church and country. You could benefit from watching some of his life experiences on video. Try not to make fun of poke fun of the dead. It is not very nice.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • gerald

      Ya bob every priest is a child molester. What a bigot.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Fragistan

      Thanks for admitting that all priests are child molesters, gerald. I wasn't really sure, but when you defend them, I know they are ALL molesters!
      No one else could have convinced me. Good job.

      September 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • gerald


      look the word sarcasm up in the dictionary. "when you defend them"?? Defend who?? The ones who have done no harm to children? Yes they should be defended against the bigots and I make no apology for that. If the shoe fits..... I have not ever defended the ones who harm children on these boards. Not once. Only simpletons like you make such claims.

      October 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.