Monday, October 10, 2011

RIP Archbishop Philip Hannan

New Orleans is a Catholic city.  It doesn't matter if you are Baptist, Wiccan, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, etc., here you function as a Catholic.  Someone even wrote a book on it, The Joy of Y'at Catholicism.  Now don't go thinking that people here are somehow forced by majority rule to head over to mass or stand in assemblies having to make the sign of the cross or something; it's not like that at all.  It's more like the Jewish guy telling his boss that he has to get off work a little early on Holy Thursday to get to Dooky Chase's for the gumbo z'herbes, or the Wiccan who hits the St. Joseph's alter for that lucky fava bean, or the Atheist who only does seafood on Friday.  You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to.

So when it comes to the clergy in the Catholic church we can be a bit odd.  A good priest can be a rock star in this town.  Archbishop Hannan was a good priest.  He championed the poor, opened the archdiocese pools to children of all colors when the city refused to open their pools rather than desegregate, he helped AIDS patients back in the 80s when it wasn't popular, he welcomed the Vietnamese refugees when others didn't make them feel so welcome, he expanded charity services, promoted the opening of the Second Harvest Food Bank, and so many

We went downtown to the procession and then to the wake at the cathedral.

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