Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, Devoted Sisters and Good People of New Orleans:
Many times during his administration of this archdiocese, my brother and I would talk about the various initiatives he had undertaken. In every instance, he would say: “Without the good priests and laity here, I could not have accomplished anything.”
And then, on a number of occasions, he expressed the wish that I would speak on his behalf, at his funeral, and thank these good people.
And so it is that, at this time, it is at his request that I say to you,
SECRETARIAT OF STATE
First Section – General Affairs
From the Vatican,
Sept. 30, 2011
Dear Monsignor Lantheaume,
In reply to your Report No. 20.103/3.341-FAX of yesterday, I would ask you kindly to transmit the following message to:
The Most Reverend Gregory Michael Aymond,
Archbishop of New Orleans
Having learned with sadness of the death of Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans, the Holy Father sends prayerful condolences to all the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. He joins those gathered for the solemn funeral rite in commending Archbishop Hannan to our Heavenly Father’s merciful love. Mindful of the deceased’s devoted and tireless ministry as priest and bishop, His Holiness prays that the late archbishop’s memory will inspire the community he served to respond ever more generously to the Lord’s call through the lives of courageous and loving witness to the Gospel.
As a pledge of spiritual strength and comfort, the Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all who mourn in the hope of resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
Secretary of State
Thanking you for your assistance, I remain, yours sincerely in Christ,
Monsignor Peter B. Wells,
Msgr. Jean Francois Lantheaume,
Chargé d”Affaires a.i.
Apostolic Nunciature in the United States of America,