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Los Angeles Cardinal says Bob Hope died a Catholic

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles issued a statement on Monday expressing his joy that entertainer Bob Hope died a Catholic.

"One of my greatest joys is knowing that Bob Hope died as a Catholic," he said. "Over the years I would invite him to join the church, but he would respond in his typical humour, 'My wife, Dolores, does enough praying to take care of both of us.' But eventually her prayers prevailed and he was baptised into the Catholic Church and was strengthened these past years through the regular reception of Holy Communion."

Hope was 100 when he died on Sunday at his home outside Los Angeles.

Although he became a Catholic after retiring from show business - his last NBC special was in 1996, when Hope was 93 - the comic and actor was long associated with Catholic projects, often in partnership with his wife, a lifelong Catholic. One such endeavour was the Our Lady of Hope Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, made possible by contributions from the couple.

Joking for reporters and mugging for the camera before the dedication of the chapel in May 1994, Hope said, "My face has helped me with my marriage and my career - I mean my faith. ... My faith has helped me in every way in my life."

Catholic News Service

Bob Hope dies, 100 (Daily Telegraph)
Dolores Reade Hope
Hollywood veterans keep the faith with fellow industry Catholics
Comic's Gentle Humor Tickled Generations (Washington Post)
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Archdiocese of Los Angeles

30 Jul 2003