Cardinal Egan
’s Official Biography


His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan was born on April 2, 1932, in Oak Park, Ill., the son of Thomas J. and Genevieve Costello Egan. 

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., he was sent to Rome to complete his seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City, where he was ordained on Dec. 15, 1957. In 1958, he received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. After ordination, he returned to the United States in 1958, where he served briefly as a curate at Holy Name Cathedral parish and later as assistant chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and secretary to His Eminence, Albert Cardinal Meyer.


In 1960 Cardinal Egan was named assistant vice rector and repetitor of moral theology and canon law at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City. In 1964, he earned a doctorate in Canon Law “Summa Cum Laude” from the Pontifical Gregorian University and thereafter returned to Chicago, where he served first as secretary to His Eminence, John Cardinal Cody, and later as the co-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago. During this period, he was also the secretary of the Archdiocesan Commissions on Ecumenism and Human Relations and was a member of several interfaith and ecumenical boards and commissions of social concerns throughout the greater Chicago area. They included the Chicago Conference on Religion and Race, the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, and the Interreligious Committee for Urban Affairs. During this period, he likewise participated in numerous ecumenical undertakings, among them the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of the United States Catholic Conference and the Protestant Episcopal Church of America, the North American Academy of Ecumenists, and the Chicago Ecumenical Dialogue.


In 1971 Cardinal Egan returned to Rome as a judge of the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota, a position he held until his episcopal consecration in May 1985. While in Rome, he was as well a professor of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University; a professor of civil and criminal procedure at the Studium Rotale, the law school of the Rota; a commissioner of the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship; a consultor of the Congregation for the Clergy; and in 1982 one of six canonists who reviewed the new Code of Canon Law with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, before its promulgation in 1983.


Cardinal Egan was consecrated a bishop on May 22, 1985, in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul in Rome by His Eminence, Bernardin Cardinal Gantin, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, with His Eminence, John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, and His Excellency, the Most Reverend John R. Keating, Bishop of Arlington, as co-consecrators.


From 1985 to 1988 Cardinal Egan served as auxiliary bishop and vicar for education of the Archdiocese of New York.


On Nov. 8, 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Egan to be the Third Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. He was installed on Dec. 14, 1988.


As Bishop of Bridgeport, Cardinal Egan oversaw the regionalization of diocesan elementary schools, established Hispanic and Haitian Apostolates, founded the St. John Fisher Seminary Residence for young men considering the priesthood, reorganized diocesan healthcare facilities, and initiated the Inner-City Foundation for Charity and Education. He saw to the construction of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence for Retired Priests in Stamford, Conn., and established the St. Catherine School for Children with Special Needs in Bridgeport, Conn., as well as The Haitian Catholic Center in Stamford, Conn. At this time he also served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Medical Center in Stamford, Conn.; as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut; and as chairman of the Board of the Bishop Curtis Homes for the Elderly in 15 communities of Fairfield County, Conn.


In addition to his diocesan duties in Bridgeport, Cardinal Egan worked with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the following capacities: as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Pontifical North American College; as chairman of the Committee on Science and Human Values; and as a member of the Committee on Canonical Affairs, the Committee on Education, the Committee on National Collections, and the Committee on Nominations. He also served two terms on the Administrative Board of the same conference. 


Cardinal Egan is a member of the Board of Trustees of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; the Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida; the Thomas More College in New Hampshire, and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists; and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of New York; the Archdiocesan Healthcare of New York (ArchCare); the International Dominican Foundation; and St. Joseph Seminary and St. John Neumann Seminary Residence and Hall, both in Dunwoodie, New York. He has received honorary degrees from St. John’s University in New York, Thomas More College in New Hampshire, Western Connecticut State University, Fordham University in New York, Manhattan College in New York, the University of Lublin, the Cardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Iona College in New York, the Ave Maria School of Law in Florida, and the New York Medical College.

On May 11, 2000 Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Egan Archbishop of New York. He was installed at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral on June 19, 2000 by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. On June 29th he received the “pallium” of an archbishop in Rome. 

He has since been named chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association; chairman of the Northeast Hispanic Catholic Center, Inc.; chairman of the New York State Catholic Conference; Bailiff Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion of the American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Conventual Chaplain; Grand Prior of the Association of Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; and president of The Bureau of Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, D.C. In addition, he serves on the Boards of Trustees of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the Ratisbonne Institute in Jerusalem, and the Whitehead School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University.

On Jan. 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II announced that Cardinal Egan was to be appointed to the College of Cardinals. He was elevated in the Consistory of Feb. 21, 2001 and was assigned as his titular church the Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill in Rome. In July 2001, Cardinal Egan was named by Pope John Paul II to serve in September and October of that year as the Moderator of a Synod of Bishops in Rome and on April 19, 2006, participated in the Consistory that elected Pope Benedict XVI. 

As a Cardinal, he has been appointed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to the following offices of the Vatican: The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Concerns of the Holy See, the Pontifical Council of the Family, and the Permanent Commission for the Protection of the Historic and Artistic Patrimony of the Holy See.


During Cardinal Egan’s tenure as Archbishop of New York, the number of registered parishioners increased by 204,000, the budget of Catholic Charities more than doubled, enrollment in Catholic elementary and secondary schools grew by 15,400, the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, became the largest in the nation, and the Archdiocese and its various agencies were made debt-free. 


In 2001, Cardinal Egan opened a new facility for the St. John Neumann Seminary and Hall in Yonkers. In 2004, he established the John Cardinal O’Connor Residence for retired priests of the Archdiocese in the Riverdale area of the Bronx. In 2006, he inaugurated the Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, providing Catholic programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the United States and Canada. In 2008, he authorized and funded the construction of a new campus ministry center at New York University in Manhattan. Likewise in 2008, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese (later, Archdiocese) of New York, Cardinal Egan had the honor of welcoming His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, to New York for a pastoral visit that included the celebration of Mass by the Holy Father in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Yankee Stadium as well.  


In May of 2009, at age 77, Cardinal Egan was retired as Archbishop of New York. He resides in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York and continues to assist in the works of the Archdiocese, while serving on a number of offices of the Vatican.


Source: Archdiocese of New York.


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