NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Cardinal Edward Egan was eulogized Tuesday from the Fifth Avenue pulpit where he once preached.

The 82-year-old Roman Catholic prelate, who led the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York for nearly a decade, was remembered during a music-filled funeral Mass celebrated by his successor, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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Dolan told the 2,500 people packing St. Patrick’s Cathedral that Egan “was uncomfortable with eulogies” but Dolan went on to praise him nonetheless. He said Catholics from fellow cardinals to “God’s good people” could tell of “consolation given on and after 9/11, prayers offered, sick visited, prisoners encouraged, children taught, immigrants welcomed, and parishes strengthened.”

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Dolan shared an Egan family story about his mother’s funeral.

Web Extra: Click Here To Watch The Complete Funeral Service

“As soon as the mass was over he started to march out, and someone said, ‘Uncle Ed you have to give the eulogy.’ He said, ‘I don’t like eulogies and neither did my mother. Let’s go!,'” Dolan recalled.

“Now this Church thanks God for him and commends his noble, priestly soul to the everlasting mercy of Jesus,” Dolan said.

Dolan addressed a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which included Gov. Andrew Cuomo and four mayors — incumbent Bill De Blasio and former mayors Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani and David Dinkins — saying the life of his predecessor was “a gift” to the church. Several of Egan’s relatives also took part in the Mass.

“I saw on him in his casket what he treasured most — on his chest was the cross in whose victory he now shares, we trust, in his hands was his rosary reminding me of his persevering prayers and of his tender trust in the mother of Jesus,” Dolan said.

Tuesday’s music-filled service got off to a noisy start with drummers and bagpipers from New York City’s police and fire departments accompanying a funeral procession along the blocked-off streets around the cathedral in midtown Manhattan.

In the packed cathedral, amid construction scaffolding, solemn church music took over as several hundred Catholic clergy, including almost a dozen cardinals and archbishops and about 30 bishops, walked slowly down the center aisle toward Egan’s casket, draped in white and gold at the foot of the altar.

Later in the program, Metropolitan Opera soloist Renee Fleming, who sang at Egan’s 2000 installation, performed “Ave Maria.”

EXTRA: Click here to see Egan’s funeral program (.pdf)

A steady stream of people came to the church Tuesday morning to reflect and pay their respects. Many, including some who knew the cardinal well, offered a glimpse into the complex man he was and the legacy he leaves.

“It’s a great loss, he’s a great leader of the church,” Midtown resident Frank Novelinski told 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis. “I came to pay my respects and go to daily Mass for him.”

“He gave his life for us so I want to give my last rights and thank him for what he did,” mourner Joanna Sica said.

Egan’s neighbor, Ted Musho, said they shared many days together, often filled with laughs.

“He called me one of the oldest altar boys around,” Musho said with a laugh. “He always started his sermons with the statement, ‘I’m gonna tell you a story,’ and of course that was the kickoff for another story.”

PHOTOS: Remembering Cardinal Egan

Mourner Maryann Martin said she’ll never forget the time she met Egan.

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“There were probably about 15 or 20 people in the group and we were all introduced and he remembered everybody’s name,” Martin said. “I was very impressed by that, he had a very commanding presence.”

At a viewing attended by thousands Monday, his open casket rested on the altar steps at St. Patrick’s, tilted toward the pews and members of the public paying their respects.

Hands folded across his chest with a rosary interlaced in his fingers, the casket was flanked by two uniformed police officers and two honorary guards representing the Knights of Jerusalem and the Knights of Columbus.

To the side was a huge bouquet of red roses with a gold ribbon that read “Beloved Uncle.”

“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.

“A true prince of the church,” said Jose Aldaz, an usher at St. Patrick’s. “A great, gentle soul.”

“I think he was a man for everyone,” Trish Belfaddo told CBS2’s Brennan.

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

Dealing with budget cuts and the clergy sex scandal took a toll on his popularity, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, but those who knew him never doubted his dedication.

“Sometimes being a fatherly figure means saying no, means making tough decisions but ultimately that he did these things with love and he did them for the benefit of the church,” Lino Rulli said, host of SirusXM’s The Catholic Channel.

Egan 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.

“He did many, many funerals,” Kelly recalled. “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.”

Egan later oversaw an overhaul of New York church finances, eliminating a multi-million dollar debt.

Egan also left an impression on students from the Academy of St. Joseph in the West Village; the Cardinal founded the school in 2007 and would visit each year.

“He always came to our Founder’s Day on his birthday,” 6th grader Amelia Magel said.

He had a stern exterior, but those who knew him best say Egan had a gentle and funny side as well.

“He was a very friendly, likeable guy, just like anybody else,” said retired Archdiocese employee Joe Dimarco. “Just had a bigger job maybe, than most.”

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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