Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Archbishop John R. Quinn remembered for his love of Christ, prayer, the priesthood and the church

12 PAGE pallium.wade.IMG_8666At the vigil for Archbishop Quinn on July 9 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the archbishop’s close friend Wade Hughan returns the archbishop’s pallium to him for the last time. Archbishop Quinn had great faith that his episcopal ministry was protected and guided by Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the conclusion of his final Mass before retirement, he placed his pallium – a woolen vestment conferred on archbishops by the pope – at the feet of the cathedral’s Guadalupe shrine. (Photos by Debra Greenblat/Catholic San Francisco)

July 13, 2017
Catholic San Francisco

Three cardinals and 24 bishops and archbishops joined hundreds of clergy, religious and faithful at St. Mary’s Cathedral on July 10 in a solemn, hymn-filled farewell to retired San Francisco Archbishop John Raphael Quinn, who was remembered as a man whose life and ministry were founded on prayer and whose final illness fulfilled a grateful journey toward unification with the risen Christ.

Archbishop Quinn, who served from 1977-95 as sixth archbishop of San Francisco, died at age 88 on June 22 at the Jewish Home of San Francisco, where he had moved only the previous week following a long hospitalization. He fell ill last November during a trip to Rome for the consistory that elevated 17 to the rank of cardinal, including Archbishop Quinn’s friend Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, who performed the rite of final commendation at the funeral Mass.

“The archbishop’s spirit grew even stronger during his illness,” Santa Fe, New Mexico, Archbishop John Wester said in the funeral homily, explaining that Archbishop Quinn chose a “quite somber” passage from Ecclesiastes for the first reading.

“’Vanity of vanities … All things are vanity,’” Archbishop Wester said. “But that is all changed now in Christ’s resurrection. That is what the archbishop wishes to communicate through Ecclesiastes. The joy of the disciple does not come from being inured (wouldn’t he like that word!) to the sorrows and frustrations of life, but by trusting in the power of God to lead us through them.”

Archbishop Quinn’s priestly career was a “steady, inexorable growth toward Christ,” Archbishop Wester said, noting that the path of discipleship is inscribed on Archbishop Quinn’s chalice in an image of the Twelve converging toward Christ. That chalice, first used by Archbishop Quinn the day after his ordination in July 1953, was used by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in celebrating the funeral Mass.

“John loved to bring out that you and I are invited to dwell with Christ in the heart of his Father through the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Wester said. “John’s Gospel begins with Christ inviting the disciples to ‘abide WITH Him’ and ends with them abiding ‘IN Him.’ This is a path of intimacy.”

Discipleship, resurrection and the meaning of Eucharist were the themes of San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy’s homily at a vigil for Archbishop Quinn on July 9 at the cathedral. Bishop McElroy reflected on the passage in John’s Gospel where the disciples are back to work fishing following Jesus’ death and the newly risen Christ calls to them from the shore, helps fill their nets and makes them a breakfast of bread and fish.

“In a very real way, these three themes of Johannine encounter by the seashore – the continuing call to discipleship and priesthood, the experience of continuity and transformation, and unceasing gratitude to God – formed the life of John Raphael Quinn at its core and are the surest comfort and consolation for us in his hour of death,” Bishop McElroy said.

“Priesthood, and the call to priesthood, lay at the very center of John’s earthly mission,” Bishop McElroy said. “Every day he was profoundly grateful for the grace of his priesthood. And as seminary professor, rector, bishop and spiritual director, Archbishop Quinn echoed the voice of the risen Jesus calling to the disciples from the shore.”

In the final commendation rite, Cardinal Cupich blessed the archbishop’s coffin before it was removed from the cathedral and taken to the mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma for interment in the bishops’ crypt.

“The greatest gift given to Archbishop John Raphael Quinn was that he was loved by Jesus and knew it,” Cardinal Cupich said. This intimacy gave him the courage and confidence to live life to the fullest, he said.

Cardinal Cupich said Archbishop Quinn “never failed to say thanks for the slightest courtesy and act of kindness.” He noted that the Holy Father’s personal prayers of support “were a medicine for his soul” during his illness.

Archbishop Quinn requested no eulogy or remembrance, his nephew, Bill Bash, told the congregation. He paraphrased his uncle as saying, “I am aware that many would wish to say words. I ask this be dispensed with that no one be hurt by any senseless omissions.”

Bash said no caregiver left Archbishop Quinn’s bedside without being thanked. He said the family is grateful to his many friends and to the city of San Francisco – “a place that gave him much joy.”

The assembly at the funeral Mass included 24 bishops and archbishops and three cardinals: Cardinal Cupich; Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired Los Angeles archbishop; and Cardinal William J. Levada, retired San Francisco archbishop and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In opening remarks, Archbishop Cordileone acknowledged Archbishop Quinn’s family from Southern California, his nephews and their wives and his great-nephew. He also greeted the large contingent of local officials and dignitaries present, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, and thanked the archbishop’s lifelong friend Wade Hughan. The first Mass reading was delivered by Archbishop Quinn’s godson, John P. Raphael Hughan.

Archbishop Cordileone also thanked members of the San Francisco interfaith community in attendance, including San Francisco Interfaith Council executive director Michael Pappas and co-founder Rita Semel.

“Interfaith dialogue was a hallmark of Archbishop Quinn and your presence today is a testament to that,” the archbishop said.

Nearly 100 sisters and nuns from religious communities in the Bay Area and beyond attended, including one whose memory of him stretched back to their childhood in Riverside. Dominican Sister of San Jose Sister Rosaleen Stoiber grew up on the same street as Archbishop Quinn.

“He was a beautiful piano player,” she said. “One summer he came home from the seminary and gathered up all of the teenagers in the neighborhood and directed us in a musical production of ‘Oklahoma,’” she said.

“He always gave such a beautiful example of a young person with a great love for his vocation,” Sister Rosaleen said. She said she in part owes her own vocation to Archbishop Quinn.

“I have great memories of him,” said Presentation Sister Ann Conlon. “I was living with the Union Sisters in San Bruno. He’d come for confirmation, play the piano, just be himself and be at home. The biggest thing is his tremendous support for the religious sisters. He was always a tremendous supporter of the women. He knew that we were living the Gospel. He knew us.”

Interfaith council co-founder Semel told Catholic San Francisco she developed profound respect for Archbishop Quinn whom she met when he made an appeal to the Catholic Charities board on which she served at the height of the AIDS epidemic. He was a shy man, she said, who learned to use his voice to do “good.”

“He told the board, ‘I don’t necessarily approve of the lifestyle, but people are suffering and we must do something,’” she said. Soon after, an office of AIDS ministry was established at the archdiocese and Catholic Charities began serving the housing and health needs of AIDS/HIV patients.

“He was one of the finest people I have ever known,” she said. “He was a great friend and I will miss him.”

Jesuit Father George Schultze, St. Patrick’s Seminary & University president and rector, recalled Archbishop Quinn’s warmth and friendliness. “He always had a cheerful smile. He was always reaching out and saying hello to anyone who came across his path,” he said.

House Minority Leader Pelosi called Archbishop Quinn “really a blessing to San Francisco.”

She said “he cared about all of God’s creation” and confirmed her five children.

“So many wonderful memories,” said Father John Ryan. “He was always so affirming. He always had good things to say to us priests, that’s my memory of him. I worked quite closely with him at times. A wonderful man.”

St. Francis of Assisi pastor Father Lawrence Goode applauded the funeral service. “He was a perfectionist, and this thing was perfect … when I leave this Earth, I’m maybe going to use some of the hymns.”


12 HALF pallium.pilow.IMG_8603The pallium is pictured resting on a pillow.

12 HALF mourners.IMG_8531Mourners pray over the archbishop’s coffin.

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