NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Yorkers are paying their respects to the late Cardinal Edward Egan, who died last week at age 82.

Monday began a two-day public visitation for Egan — a man admired by many.

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“He was a man of great spirit and great heart and he loved this city and he loved everyone in it,” Seaford resident Trish Crighton told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.

Egan’s casket arrived at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Monday morning met by his successor, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who escorted the casket inside to Egan’s waiting family.

“He loved this city, he loved his priests and sisters and parishes and especially the people,” Dolan said last week.

Dolan will deliver the homily at Egan’s funeral Mass Tuesday afternoon at St. Patrick’s.

Click here to see Egan’s funeral program (.pdf) will have a live stream of Egan’s funeral Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

One by one, mourners entered the cathedral to pay their respects.

The red velvet-lined casket is surrounded by an honor guard and red roses, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

Kathleen McCarren said she went to say a prayer.

“He was a very nice friend of mine, very kind person,” she told Lamb. “I mean, you know if you look at him he was a kind man, absolutely. He was good living, why would he be in the church if he wasn’t good living.”

Jackie and Joe DeMarco told 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis they’re grateful the cardinal died without suffering.

“It’s always sad when a member of the family passes. He’s a member of our family,” Jackie said.

“He did a good job and his reward was to not suffer in the end and just go right to the Father,” Joe said.

Members of the police and fire Holy Name Society and Catholic Knights of Columbus and Malta stood at attention as visitors paid their respects.

Silverio Guzman came bearing a prized possession, a photo with Cardinal Egan taken at the 2004 Puerto Rican Day Parade.

“He met everybody in front of the church, in front of the cathedral while we were marching on 5th Avenue,” Guzman told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

Guzman spoke Spanish with the Cardinal who was also fluent in Latin, French, and Italian.

He once remarked that after so many years in Rome he often found himself thinking in Italian.

Egan went into cardiac arrest last Thursday while having lunch at his residence. He was rushed to NYU Langone Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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He retired in 2009 after nine years of leading the Archdiocese of New York, which serves about 2.6 million Catholics in about 400 parishes in parts of the city and its northern suburbs.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Egan anointed the dead and distributed rosaries to workers as they searched for survivors. Egan later presided over victims’ funerals, sometimes three a day.

“His thoughtful and compassionate stewardship helped New Yorkers grieve and recover,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week.

Still, Egan faced criticism when he left the city, weeks after the attacks, for a Vatican synod, a month-long international bishops’ meeting convened by the pope. Egan said he asked repeatedly for permission to stay in New York but was told he was needed in Rome, and he later said that having his loyalty to the city questioned was “the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

When Egan became archbishop, the archdiocese was running an annual deficit of about $20 million, a shortfall he said he wiped out within two years. That entailed cutting spending and laying off staffers.

An authority on church law, Egan was one of just a few experts chosen by Pope John Paul II to help with the massive job of reviewing the revised Code of Canon Law for the global church.

Egan’s warm personality didn’t always come through in public, but a longtime Archdiocese employee said it showed in private.

“He was a very friendly guy. Just like anybody else. Just had a bigger job maybe than most,” Joe DiMarco said.

“A tough administrator with a softer side. He had a tough job and he did it well. We just want to pay our respects,” Jackie DiMarco added.

Jose Aldaz, an usher at St. Patrick’s, served during Cardinal Egan’s nine years leading the Archdiocese. He told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider that Egan gave him a rosary just before Aldaz was to undergo heart surgery.

“He placed this rosary in my hand and said, ‘Pope Benedict gave me this rosary when he came here, and I want you to have this and keep this always with you. I will pray always for your health,'” he said.

Among the thousands who paraded past the casket were City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Governor George Pataki, and former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Kelly recalled how Egan comforted the city and the police force in the dark weeks after the September 11 attacks.

“He did many, many funerals. Went to many memorial services. He did it with a passion, really. If you spoke to him after 9/11, you knew how deeply it affected him,” Kelly said.

Church officials said Egan will be buried under the main altar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“God is bringing him where he wants him to rest before he is in heaven,” said Crighton.

Dolan remembered joking with Egan about what would happen when they passed.

“We went down, and I teased him about this forever. He said, ‘you see that spot, that’s mine. You see those two spots? Those are yours,’” Dolan said.

A public visitation is being held until 6 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A vigil Mass will be held at 6 p.m. Visitation continues after Mass until 9 p.m.

There will be another public visitation at St. Patrick’s from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Inner-City Scholarship Fund or The Restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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