Justin Rigali of St. Louis Appointed as New Archbishop of Philadelphia

Cardinal Bevilacqua Retires

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, JULY 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II named Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis to succeed Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua as head of the 1.48-million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Cardinal Bevilacqua, who turned 80 last month, is retiring because of age. He spent more than 15 years as head of the archdiocese.

Bishop Rigali was appointed the seventh archbishop of St. Louis, in Missouri, by the Pope on Jan. 25, 1994. He was formally installed as the spiritual leader of the archdiocese the following March 15.

«The archbishop’s intense interest in and commitment to young people as the future of the Church was demonstrated by a complete restructuring of youth ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis with added staffing and significant program development,» the Web page of the Archdiocese of St. Louis says.

«He has actively promoted vocations to the priesthood and religious life and has strongly supported an initiative to incorporate eucharistic adoration in every parish of the Archdiocese,» the page adds.

In January 1999, Archbishop Rigali hosted the pastoral visit of John Paul II to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Ordained a bishop in 1985, Justin Rigali held a number of Vatican posts from 1985 to 1990. He served at the Pontifical Council for the Laity; the Secretariat of State; the Congregation of Bishops; the Council for Public Affairs of the Church; the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On Jan. 2, 1990, he became the secretary of the College of Cardinals in Rome.

In addition to his work in the Roman Curia, Archbishop Rigali was engaged in other pastoral activities in a number of parishes and seminaries in Rome. During his tenure at the Vatican, he accompanied John Paul II on a number of international trips, including the Pope’s two journeys to the United States in 1979 and 1987.

In 1970, he had been appointed director of the English-language section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and became the English-language translator for Pope Paul VI, whom he also accompanied on several international trips. Justin Rigali also served as a professor at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy at the Vatican from 1972-1973 and was named president of the academy in 1985.

From 1966 to 1970, he served at the apostolic nunciature in Madagascar, which also was the apostolic delegation for the islands of the Indian Ocean. He is a member of the Order of the Knights of Malta, the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, and a Prelate of Honor to His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

Justin Rigali was born in Los Angeles on April 19, 1935, one of seven children of Henry Rigali and Frances Irene White.

He attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles and studied in the archdiocese seminaries in Los Angeles College, Our Lady Queen of Angels Seminary in San Fernando, and St. John’s College and St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. He was ordained a priest by Cardinal James McIntyre in Los Angeles on April 25, 1961.

In 1964, he obtained a doctorate in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome. From 1964 to 1966, he followed the course of studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in preparation for his work for the Holy See.

According to the Pontifical Yearbook, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has an overall population of 3.84 million. It has 282 parishes, 741 diocesan priests, 392 religious priests, 197 permanent deacons, 59 seminarians who are studying philosophy and theology. In addition, it has 530 men religious, 3,547 women religious, 501 education centers, and 204 welfare institutes.

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