NEW YORK—Cardinal Edward Egan should have been taking care of business in Washington, D.C., at the annual fall meeting of the country's bishops. But tragedy called him home, and on the morning of Nov. 13 he was taking care of some hurting members of his New York flock.

Msgr. Gerald Walsh, a pastor in the heavily Dominican Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, led Cardinal Egan to three homes in his parish. Two of those families each lost three members in the horrific airliner crash in Queens the day before.

“There's a lot of sorrow in Washington Heights,” said Msgr. Walsh, pastor of St. Elizabeth's Parish. He said nearby Incarnation Parish lost at least 10 members. “They're doing the best they can. Neighbors come to help. You see a lot of that here.”

The cardinal, who is fluent in Spanish, sat and talked and prayed with the grieving, offering them rosary beads that had been blessed by Pope John Paul II. “He said that even though they lost a great deal, they had all these people around them to help them,” Msgr. Walsh related. “And he said he'd be back later in the week to say a Mass [at St. Elizabeth's] for their loved ones.”

—John Burger