Tributes flow for Billy Graham

The late Billy Graham has drawn tributes from cardinals, bishops, priests and lay Catholics.

Graham was a Southern Baptist evangelical preacher from the United States who was admired by many Catholics.

He died last Wednesday aged 99.

The Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has paid tribute to Graham.

“As anyone growing up in the 1950s and 1960s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham,” Dolan said.

Even though his family was Catholic, Dolan said they respected and admired Graham for his work in bringing people to God.

“Whether it was one of his famous Crusades, radio programs, television specials, or meeting and counseling the presidents, Billy Graham seemed to be everywhere, always with the same message:

‘Jesus is your Savior, and wants you to be happy with Him forever'”.

US Council of Catholic Bishops president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo praised Graham for his work spreading the gospel around the country, and said he was thankful for his ministry.

Another tribute has been made by a former Anglican priest who became a Catholic priest. Fr Dwight Longenecker says he met Graham while he was studying at Oxford.

While he can’t recall exactly what Graham said, only “the hardest heart” could resist his words. The gist of what Graham said was as follows:

“My friends, I come here feeling a little bit like Paul preaching in Athens. He was surrounded by the greatest minds and philosophers of his day, and he stood up and presented the simple, life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

“That’s what I feel like. Here you are … and I’m just a poor country preacher.

“Nevertheless, it is my prayer that you will join me in witnessing to the love of Jesus Christ to this needy world.”

In 1981, Graham had the first of several meetings with St. John Paul II, who said that the two were “brothers.”

When John Paul II died in 2005, Graham said he believed that the Pope had been “the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years,” and praised his “strong Catholic faith” and perseverance through his illnesses.


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