Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- Four days of funeral services for Archbishop Philip Hannan began on Monday night.
The archbishop's body is now lying in repose at Notre Dame Seminary before his funeral Mass this Thursday at Saint Louis Cathedral.
"Literally I think he's met millions of people in his lifetime and he had that charisma that when he met someone to make them feel very comfortable," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the late Archbishop Hannan, who continues to draw mourners from near and far to pay their respects.
Aymond and other clergy stood on the steps of Notre Dame Seminary on Monday afternoon to greet the funeral hearse carrying Hannan's casket.
"We have on the side of his casket the gospel book, because he certainly was bold and fearless in proclaiming the gospel, and on the otherside is the shepherd staff, which is a sign of his gentleness and leading," said Aymond of Hannan's funeral arrangements.
Inside the seminary were Hannan's brother and other family members.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans says Hannan is being laid out in the vestments made for the 1987 Papal visit, which include a miter (or headpiece) and a pallium (or cloak). The Archdiocese says he's also wearing New Orleans Saints cuff links.
Even after death, the "fearless and gentle" Archbishop was still leading his fellow priests on Monday into the seminary as they followed his casket into the church altar for a private evening priest's prayer.
"Not just to say goodbye to him but look at his legacy and faith, and look at that ourself, and how can we carry about that legacy and live out that faith in our lives," said Father Minh Phan, who added that Hannan helped make the Vietnamese community a big part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
"He gave the city a lot of hope after I lost my house in Katrina, I think everyone needed hope. So I'm very sorry for his passing but he did so much good," said Joan Livaccari who was confirmed by Hannan.
After the private priest's prayer, Hannan's legacy continued to bring mourners from all walks of life into the seminary's altar -- a chance for many to say a prayer and bid Hannan a final farewell.
"This is the least I can do for him after baptizing me 51 years ago is to come say goodbye," said Karen Filos who made the trip to New Orleans from Saint Charles Parish to pay her respects.
Also sitting in the pews, former Mayor Moon Landrieu and his wife, Verna.
"All throughout his life, he's been a remarkably dedicated human being and lived God's social gospels," said former mayor Landrieu.
A week of goodbyes for a man who lived a remarkable life, helping everyone and anyone -- even if it meant jumping out of a plane in World War II to follow his life's calling.
"I was thinking that's really a symbol of his life. It not only takes guts to jump out of plane. It takes guts and boldness to be a bishop and be able to speak and act in the way he did," added Archbishop Aymond.
Visitation will continue all day Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday at the seminary on S. Carrollton Ave.
Then, at 2 p.m. Wednesday, a horse-drawn carriage will carry the archbishop's casket from the seminary to St. Louis Cathedral, traveling from S. Carrollton Avenue to Canal Street, and into the French Quarter. The St. Augustine High School Marching 100 band will lead the procession. The public is encouraged to line the route to pay respect, though church officials ask people not to join in the procession.
The archbishop's funeral Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday at St. Louis Cathedral. Channel 4 will provide live coverage on WWL-TV and WWLTV.com.
For complete funeral details, click here.