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Rigali Bids Farewell to St. Louis

Cardinal-designate Justin Rigali, just before his final mass in St. Louis (KWMU Photo)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Cardinal-designate Justin Rigali said good bye to St. Louis at a farewell mass Sunday. Speaking to a near-full Cathedral Basilica, the outgoing Archbishop reflected on his time and also on his new assignment as the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

"I've been telling everybody that it wasn't my idea to leave," Rigali said. "It was the Pope's. But I can't blame him too much because it was he who gave me the opportunity in the beginning to come here nine-and-a-half years ago. I would have never been here if it weren't for him. So, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away."

During the mass, church officials also announced that the archdiocese's pastoral center in Shrewsbury will be renamed the Cardinal Rigali Pastoral Center.

Rigali will be installed as Philadelphia's new Archbishop Tuesday and will officially become a cardinal in two weeks.

Outside the mass, a small group of people held signs in protest of Rigali, in part for the way he say he handled the priest sex abuse scandal. Rigali didn't mention priest sex abuse in his homily, but did allude to it: "Every single person in this local church and in this community is important and must be supported," he said.

"In particular the children, the unborn, those who are defenseless must be protected from whatever or whoever would abuse, violate or destroy them."

Pope John Paul II named Rigali a cardinal last weekend.


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