WISCONSINREPORT.COM (06/18/08) - NBC newsman and political commentator Tim Russert, who was slated for burial June 18 after a funeral Mass in Washington, unabashedly witnessed to his Catholic faith, said Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Communications Committee. Archishop Niederaurer said the public host of Meet the Press was loyal to his family, fatherhood and faith in his private life.
"Russert was valued by Americans for his tremendous command of the political and electoral process and his commitment to discovering each aspect of the story that contributed to people having a better awareness of the issues of public life and candidates for political office," Archishop Niederaurer said.
"But those of us who shared his Catholic faith and his deep love for it appreciated his sharing of the story of his own faith and his loyalty to the life of the Catholic Church in this country and the many charities to which he contributed his time and talent," the Archbishop continued.
Archbishop Niederauer also praised NBC News for asking Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, to come to their studio for their staff, hours after Russert's death.
"Tim Russert was not shy about telling people to turn to prayer and promising to pray for them in their time of need," Archbishop Niederaurer said. "That the network thought of his staff and followed his example speaks well of them."
The Archbishop noted that over the weekend, the newsman's broadcast friends described Russert's devotion to his family and church. His producer noted that there were two things Tim never missed: Mass and an event for his son Luke.
The community of journalists was, has been, and still is, stunned and saddened at the news of Tim Russert's death.
"Tim was a colleague and friend to all in journalism. He was a role model for all of us, whether in print or broadcast. Tim epitomized excellence in journalism and unflinching commitment to the craft. Our profession has lost a stellar journalist," said National Press Club President Sylvia Smith.
"Russert in his public life was loyal to journalism," said Archbishop Niederauer. "In his private life he was faithful to his family, fatherhood and faith. That's a wonderful measure of a man."
"Many of us who watched Meet the Press every week, saw Tim as, not only a great Journalist, with a capital "J", who got at the truth we all need in our lives, but, as someone we would loved to have had as a member of the family, or, perhaps, as our Best Friend, " said WisconsinReport.com editor Gary Morgan. "For, that, he was, whether, at the time, we knew it or not."
"Americans of many faiths, and many others in the world, mourn his loss, yet, we are reminded to rejoice in Tim Russert being here for all of us, while he was here," Morgan said.
"Every one of us has a Purpose in Life. Some of us, never figure out what that purpose is. We should all be so very glad that Tim Russert found his purposes: Politics, Journalism, His Family, Love of Country, and, his Faith."