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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
August 26, 1994     The Message
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August 26, 1994
 

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ordina" at St. napolis. )rkshOP parish FridaY, for the nce (be at the ,e infor" Cardinal Joseph L. Berdardin, Archbishop of Chicago, is greeted fol- lowing the funeral for Bishop Francis It. Shea. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes By MARY ANN HUGHES, Message staff writer During the evening hours of Bishop Francis R. Shea's wake, a young woman approached his coffin and dropped to her knees. As she knelt on the floor, shq made the sign of the cross and began to pray. As she prayed, her two young children knelt on the floor beside her. The three of them were part of a procession of members of the Diocese of Evansville who came to St. Benedict Church, Evansville, on Aug. 21 to say good-bye to the man who had led their diocese for 19 years. Priests of the diocese, and members of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of St. John served as an honor guard throughout the hours of the visi- tation. Bishop John J. McRaith of Owensboro, who was unable to attend the Mon- day funeral, came to pay his respects during the Sunday visitation. Over 400 people -- priests, deacons, religious and laity -- attended the Sun- day evening wake service at St. Ben's. The service offered time to remember the humanity of Bishop Shea. Msgr. Clinton Hirsch, a retired priest of the diocese, noted that he was one of the first member of the diocese to greet Msgr. Shea back in 1969-- and one of the last to say goodbye at St. Mary's Hospital last weelc Of their first meeting, Msgr. Hirsch remembered a gracious Southern gentle- man" who was quick to point out that he had had no aspi- rations of becoming a bishop. "He was totally sur- prised by it," Msgr. Hirsch said, adding, "As a matter of fact, b.is policy had been to stay away from the Chancery Office." Msgr. Hirsch said that one of Bishop Shea's top priori- ties as a diocesan leader was "availability. Tobe available to the people generally, and specifically to priests and re- ligious." Msgr. Hirsch added, "I think he fulfilled his ambition." He characterized Bishop Shea by his "keen sense of humor. He was never one to get in a hurry. He strolled at a steady pace.  Father Joseph Ziliak, editor of the Message during much of Bishop Shea's tenure, remembers a leader who "experienced tension between his head and his heart. As a bishop, he governed with his head, but in his own life, he followed his heart." Father Ziliak added, "We are grateful for his warmth, his humor, his presence, for keeping a steady hand in Corr Ot t thi turbulent waters." x 4169i During the wake service, Bishop Shea's riephew Jim Reddick, remembered an uncle he called "Trank, Uncle f.0169  Bishop.   He was such a tremendous man of joy, He lived every day as joyously as he coul& * 536 o ': Hewas also a man of courage, Reddick said,: recalling his uncle's work in integrating Father Ryan High School in Knoxville, Tenn, during the civil rights battles of the 1950s. Reddick said hi, proud"when Msgr. Shea was appointed bishop of the diocese, but"very sad, 8hea. Above, e$ his family learned he was very happy with the hand ! HUC f th !#,' |= Gerald