Rigali appointed cardinal, leaves for Philadelphia

On Sunday, Sept. 28, Pope John Paul II named Justin Francis
Rigali, former archbishop of St. Louis, one of 31 new cardinals to
serve in the college of cardinals. Rigali, who will officially be
named Archbishop of Philadelphia on Oct. 7, was the only American
selected.

Rigali has served as archbishop of St. Louis since 1994 and will
replace Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, who has
retired. Before his time in St. Louis, Rigali spent three decades
in the Vatican where he served as president of the Pontifical
Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for Vatican diplomats and
secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

The 31 appointed will officially become cardinals on Oct. 21 at
a ceremony in Rome.

Cardinal-designate Rigali will give a farewell Mass at 2:30 p.m.
at the Cathedral Basilica this Sunday.

“This is a wonderful honor for Archbishop Rigali, recognizing
his contributions to the Catholic Church,” said University
President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. “If Pope John Paul II didn’t make
me a cardinal this time around, I am delighted that the scarlet
robes are going to a fellow Italian-American from Tuscany,” Biondi
joked.

“With all seriousness, the archbishop and I have always enjoyed
a solid relationship,” Biondi said. “He has been very supportive of
the University’s mission and ministry and myself as president.
Archbishop Rigali leaves St. Louis for Philadelphia with my sincere
prayers and best wishes for all success in the future.”

The announcement of the cardinals came sooner than was expected,
suggesting that the Pope’s health is becoming more unstable. The
83-year-old pontiff has Parkinson’s disease as well as severe
arthritis.

The appointments also influence the future of the Catholic
Church. All cardinals under the age of 80 will vote for John Paul
II’s successor. Even before the announcement on Sunday, the Pope
had appointed 104 of the 109 cardinals under age 80. With the
addition of 31 new cardinals appointed by John Paul II, the next
pope is likely to hold the same values and ideals on controversial
issues as the current pope.

“Rigali has been a wonderful archbishop,” said Michael Doody,
S.J., director of Campus Ministry. “He is a holy man, a bit
conservative and wise. He will serve the Church well.

“The Holy Spirit is filled with surprises and is definitive in
the selection of the pope,” Doody continued. “[The cardinals] will
select the pope in an attitude of prayer and humility, in the eyes
of God.”