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Rigali Leaving St. Louis for Philadelphia Archdiocese

(File Photo)
St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Pope John Paul II has named St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali the new archbishop of Philadelphia. Rigali will leave the St. Louis archdiocese in October; he's taking over for the retiring Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who just turned 80.

St. Louis Archdiocese spokesman Tony Huenneke says Rigali's new assignment in Philadelphia is a move up; he'll be leading a million more Catholics than he currently does.

"I'm certainly sure that Archbishop Rigali, in his nine years here, has shown his ability as an administrator and also as a pastor," Huenneke said. "He probably has all the qualifications they're looking for to lead a diocese of that size and that importance."

Rigali, 68, was installed as St. Louis's Archbishop on March 15, 1994; before that he worked for the pope in the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II's visit to St. Louis in 1999 was the only time during his pontificate that he's visited just one diocese on a trip to the U.S.

After Rigali leaves in October, an interim administrator will lead St. Louis,Catholics until a new archbishop is named.

Philadelphia's Catholic population of about 1.5 million is nearly three times that of St. Louis.


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