Irish-American cardinal tipped for sainthood
A CARDINAL with a strong Irish connection is being tipped as a future saint.
The cause of the late Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Terence Cooke, is now progressing through the several phases towards sainthood.
The Catholic news agency in Rome, EWTN, has confirmed the current Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan last week presented Pope Benedict with documents which could eventually lead to Cardinal Cooke being declared a saint.
The news has been warmly greeted in Galway, where the late cardinal has extended family.
Brid Lynch, widow of the cardinal's first cousin, who lives in Tuam, said: "This is great news and I was told about the possibility of it happening last Christmas by some people in New York who are involved in the campaign for his canonisation.
"He visited us here three times during his lifetime; first when he was a priest and later as a cardinal."
Cardinal Cooke was born in 1921 in Manhattan, the son of an Irish immigrant. He was ordained by Cardinal Francis Spelman in 1945. He was consecrated bishop in 1965 and three years later, when Cardinal Spelman died, Terence Cooke succeeded him.
While it was not known publicly, Cardinal Cooke was diagnosed with leukemia during his first year as archbishop. Up to his death in 1983, he bore his illness bravely.
He was much loved by the Catholic community in New York and, at 47, was one of the youngest to take over as archbishop. He was regarded as an innovative and selfless churchman.
If the Pope declares that Cardinal Cooke has displayed 'heroic virtue' in his life, he will be designated as venerable.