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Requiem Mass for Archbishop John J. Cantwell

Requiem Mass for Archbishop John J. Cantwell

Nov. 4, 1947: Casket of Archbishop John J. Cantwell during Requiem Mass at St. Vibiana’s Cathedral.

John James Cantwell was the first Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He passed away on Oct. 30, 1947.

A story in the Nov. 5, 1947, Los Angeles Times reported:

From the reverent lips of nearly 2000 nuns yesterday rose the sacred song of Holy Mass in St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, where solemn pontifical sacrifice was offered in requiem for Archbishop John. J. Cantwell.

It was prelude to the Funeral Mass today, at which His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York will preside as the ranking Catholic prelate to honor the memory of Los Angeles’ first Archbishop who died last Thursday. Cardinal Spellman arrived last night via United Airlines.

Mourning throngs of faithful stood outside the granite gray cathedral, awaiting time to pass the Archbishop’s bier, there to make the Cross’ sign and whisper a prayer for the prelate. And as they waited in the grimy city bustle of Main St. the chant of nuns inside the church took wings into heavens above the din.

Beyond the cathedral and beyond the city 650,000 Catholics of the archdiocese joined too in this tribute to their great spiritual leader. Children of the parochial schools, dismissed yesterday and to be away from classes today, remembered Archbishop Cantwell in their prayers. …

From all corners of the archdiocese the nuns had come. Their communities numbered now 46, and when the Archbishop whom they honored first came they numbered only 19. They filled the cathedral and they waited to chant the divine words of the sacrifice upon the altar. …

The above photo was published in the Nov. 5, 1947, Los Angeles Times.

Jan. 28, 1945: This portrait of Archbishop John J. Cantwell was published on the front pageĀ of the Oct. 31, 1947, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Charles Strite/Los Angeles Times.

Nov. 5, 1947: Francis Cardinal Spellman presides at services for Archbishop John J. Cantwell. Msgr. John Cawley holds the Bible. Assisting the cardinal are two brothers of the late archbishop, Msgr. James, left, and the Rev. Williams. This photo was published in the Nov. 6, 1947, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Paul Calvert/Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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