.- The present and former Archbishops of New York have commented on the death of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, remembering his âgenerosityâ and his help in securing Yankee Stadium for two papal Masses.
Steinbrenner died of a heart attack on July 13 at the age of 80.
âI was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. George Steinbrenner today. My sincere condolences go to Mrs. Steinbrenner and the entire Steinbrenner family,â commented Archbishop Timothy Dolan. âWhen I was a young boy and budding baseball fan growing up in Saint Louis, everybody knew of the great New York Yankees. Even when they were your opponent, they were a team to be admired and respected.â
In a Tuesday statement, he recalled his âjoyâ at being invited to Steinbrennerâs box for the April 2009 grand opening of the new Yankees Stadium and also for a World Series game in October.
âThey were experiences Iâll never forget. Mr. Steinbrenner and his family were very warm and welcoming to me, the new kid in town,â commented Archbishop Dolan, who was installed in New York in April 2009.
âIâve since learned that such acts of kindness were very much in keeping with the Steinbrenner tradition,â he continued, noting that Catholic agencies in New York and Florida were often âthe beneficiary of his and the Steinbrenner familyâs generosity.â
He noted that the Steinbrenners and the New York Yankees responded to the January earthquake in Haiti with a $225,000 donation to Catholic Relief Services. He then praised Steinbrennerâs âtremendous goodnessâ in arranging Yankee Stadium as a papal Mass venue for Pope John Paul II in 1979 and for Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Dolanâs predecessor, in a Tuesday statement noted that he had recently written Steinbrenner to wish him a happy 80th birthday.
âI thanked him once again for his extraordinary kindness and generosity to the Archdiocese of New York on the occasion of the Pastoral visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our City two years ago,â the cardinal wrote. âThus it is with the deepest sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of this great New Yorker.â
He praised the Yankees owner as a âmarvelous leaderâ and âan exemplary citizen.â
âHis many acts of charity in favor of Catholic institutions, his kindness to Terence Cardinal Cooke when Pope John Paul II came to New York in 1979, and his deeply appreciated goodness to me and so many of our clergy and religious will never be forgotten,â the cardinal wrote.
Cardinal Egan said Steinbrenner will âalways have a very special place in my prayers,â while Archbishop Dolan said the recently deceased will have âa special remembranceâ in his Masses and prayers.
âMay the Lord bless and console his beloved family in their loss and grant him, âThe Boss,â eternal rest,â the cardinal concluded.