PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, OCT. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Justin Rigali already knows what his pastoral priority will be when he’s installed Tuesday as the head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
“The first major goal that we have is of conversion, or holiness of life,” he told the National Catholic Register recently.
“In other words, to be a Church means we have to be pursuing conversion to the Gospel, and that’s where the Gospel opens,” he said. “Jesus opens up his public life by saying, ‘Be converted, turn to the Gospel.’ It means, ‘turn to God, be holy.'”
Archbishop Rigali outlined the four other goals of his plan: evangelization, Catholic education, serving those in need, and stewardship.
He will be one of 30 new cardinals to receive a red hat in Rome on Oct. 21. John Paul II has kept secret the identity of a 31st cardinal.
Born in Los Angeles, Justin Rigali has spent most of his time since his 1961 ordination outside of the United States. He was sent to Rome to study, and eventually became a Vatican diplomat and English-language translator for Popes Paul VI and John Paul I.
In 1985, John Paul II appointed him as president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and in 1989, he became the secretary of bishops in the Roman Curia.
In his new post in Philadelphia, Archbishop Rigali will replace Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who retired. Since 1994, Archbishop Rigali has been the head of the St. Louis Archdiocese, where he was noted for his appreciation of his priests and the promotion of eucharistic adoration.
Asked by the Register about similarities between St. Louis and Philadelphia, Archbishop Rigali said, “I think there are many wonderful parallels between the two archdioceses — they both have a splendid presbyterate and they both have faithful people. And they’ve been doing this for a long time.”