Philadelphia’s archbishop, Cardinal Justin Rigali, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his installation as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church during a special mass this week.
KYW’S Mark Abrams reports Cardinal Justin Rigali will be the guest of honor and main celebrant for Tuesday afternoon’s Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on the Parkway.
Hundreds of clergy, including five cardinals, ten archbishops and 45 bishops will be among those taking part. Rigali served in the Vatican under Pope John Paul II and says it was the Polish pope, who appointed him just a few years before his death to lead the flock in Philadelphia.
But many years before that, as Rigali served as Pope John Paul II’s aide on English language matters for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, he traveled with the pope to Philadelphia during a historic 1979 visit:
“I was privileged to accompany him to the shrine of St. John Neumann, at St. Peter’s Church. And, not knowing as we knelt before the saint there, who is St. John Neumann, that someday I would be privileged to be his successor since he was the fourth bishop of Philadelphia.”
Rigali, who is 75 and has presented his retirement letter to Pope Benedict XVI as required by church policy, says he’s been told to stay put for now.