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Observances Begin For Longtime Cardinal

"If anyone was prepared for meeting our Lord, it certainly was the cardinal," said Knestout, who recently became pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring.

"The same experiences that any of us have in terms of facing our own mortality, I would think he had the same kinds of struggles with that that any of us do," Knestout added. "But again, he had a . . . profound faith, so I'm confident that he was ready."


Students from the Cardinal Hickey Academy in Calvert County pay respects to the man who founded their school. (Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

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The public viewing lasted until 5:30 p.m., when a vigil Mass of the Dead was attended by about 500 members of Catholic religious orders. Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan who worked with Washington's Latino community for many years, gave the homily.

Hickey's body will be available for viewing today from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the lower church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast Washington. McCarrick then will celebrate a vigil Mass in that lower church.

That rite and the funeral Mass tomorrow in the basilica's upper church are open to the public. Hickey's burial in the crypt of St. Matthew's, however, will be private.

The crypt, at the entrance to the cathedral's chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, already holds the remains of Cardinal Patrick O'Boyle, who headed the archdiocese from 1948 to 1973.

The tomb's marble cover was missing yesterday because it had been sent to the engraver. When replaced, it will say: "James Cardinal Hickey 1920-2004. Archbishop of Washington 1980-2000."


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