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More than 100 St. Louisans will attend when former Archbishop Burke receives cardinal's red hat

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 18, 2010 - Saturday morning -- before dawn St. Louis time -- when former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke gets his red hat as head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, more than 100 St. Louis area residents will be in attendance at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis and Bishop Edward Braxton of the Belleville diocese are in Rome to attend the ceremony, called the consistory, where the pope confers the red hats.

The Signatura is the court of last resort within the church. As its head or prefect, Burke has one vote with 19 other canon lawyer-judges. The prefect of the court traditionally is given the red hat of a cardinal along with its most important responsibility of papal elector, allowing him to vote for the next pope when the papal chair becomes vacant.

The Rev. Edward Nemeth, whom Burke ordained a priest, is attending the ceremony. Nemeth now is associate pastor of St. Joseph in Imperial. Others attending include the archdiocese's vicar general Monsignor Vernon Gardin and the Rev. Joseph Weber, pastor of St. Justin Martyr in south St. Louis County.

More than 100 St. Louis lay people are in Rome already or traveling there for Saturday's consistory.

Most flew to Chicago Thursday morning to catch a chartered overnight flight to Rome. Multiple generations of some families will attend. Four grade school cousins, twins Ian and Owen Shaughnessy, seventh graders at St. Roch's School, Kathleen Shaughnessy, a seventh grader at Visitation Academy and Andrew Harlan of Peoria left with their grandparents Joe and Rosemary Shaughnessy of the Central West End. The cousins will return to St. Louis Tuesday in time for their family Thanksgiving. The grandparents are friends and admirers of Cardinal-designate Burke.

"They are really very excited," said Karen Shaughnessy, mother of the twins Ian and Owen.

The Eternal World Network, a cable channel, based in Birmingham, Ala. will televise the consistory from 3:30-6:30 a.m., Sat., Nov. 20 and replay it for sleepyheads from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Patricia Rice, a freelance writer in St. Louis, has long covered religion. 

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