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Statement from Saints Owner Tom Benson on Passing of Archbishop Philip Hannan

Archbishop Hannan once told me that the New Orleans Saints were part of the unique culture and social fabric of our city.

The same can be and must be said of him.

His passing today, albeit sad, should make us all pause for a moment and celebrate a wonderful man and a wonderful life, one that has impacted many generations.

My friendship with the Archbishop goes back many years.

He has impacted my life and the life of my wife Gayle in many ways. We have both relied on him in the past and we will now look to him in the future for continued strength and spiritual guidance. His life was a living testament of how one's faith can steer you through tough times as well as prosperous times.

As we reflect, we must celebrate what he has meant to all of us here in New Orleans, to the youth of our city, the elderly, all of us have in some way been impacted by his service.

On a personal note, some of my most favorite memories are sharing an occasional Sunday mass at the Superdome and then taking in a Saints game with him.

Every year since I have owned the team, he has attended many Saints games with me, including our Super Bowl XLIV victory in Miami. He loved the Saints.

I will always cherish those times.

Much like his 1968 Prayer for the Saints, in which he implores all of us to overcome and to march into victory now and into eternity, it is safe to say that in his life, he has done just that.

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