IMAGE: CNS/ReutersBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked 45,000 children preparing
for confirmation to promise Jesus they would never engage in bullying.
Turning stern during a lively and laughter-filled encounter
March 25, Pope Francis told the youngsters he was very worried about the
growing phenomenon of bullying.
He asked them to be silent and reflect on if there were
times when they made fun of someone for how they looked or behaved. And, as a
condition of their confirmation, he made them promise Jesus that they would
never tease or bully anyone.
The pope ended his daylong visit to Milan by participating
in an expanded version of the archdiocese's annual encounter for pre-teens
preparing for confirmation. An estimated 78,000 people filled the city's famed
San Siro soccer stadium; the archdiocese expects to confirm about 45,000 young
people this year.
A boy named Davide asked the pope, "When you were our
age, what helped your friendship with Jesus grow?"
First of all, the pope said, it was his grandparents. One of
his grandfathers was a carpenter, who told him Jesus learned carpentry from St.
Joseph, so whenever the pope saw his grandfather work, he thought of Jesus. The
other grandfather taught him to always say something to Jesus before going to
sleep, even if it was just, "Good night, Jesus."
His grandmothers and his mother, the pope said, were the
ones who taught him to pray. He told the kids that even if their grandparents
"don't know how to use a computer or have a smartphone," they have a
lot to teach them.
Playing with friends taught him joy and how to get along
with others, which is part of faith, the pope said. And going to Mass and to
the parish oratory also strengthened his faith because "being with others
A couple of parents, who introduced themselves as Monica and
Alberto, asked the pope's advice on educating their three children in the
Pope Francis borrowed little Davide's question and asked the
parents to close their eyes and think of the people who transmitted the faith
to them and helped it grow.
"Your children watch you continually," the pope
said. "Even if you don't notice, they observe everything and learn from
it," especially in how parents handle tensions, joys and sorrows.
He also encouraged families to go to Mass together and then,
if the weather is nice, to go to a park and play together. "This is
beautiful and will help you live the commandment to keep the Lord's day
An essential part of handing on the faith, he said, is
teaching children the meaning of solidarity and engaging them in the parents'
acts of charity and solidarity with the poor. "Faith grows with charity
and charity grows with faith," he said.
Before going to the soccer stadium, Pope Francis celebrated
an afternoon Mass for the feast of the Annunciation in Milan's Monza Park.
The annunciation of Jesus' birth to Mary took place in her
home in a small town in the middle of no where, which is a sign that God
desired to meet his people "in places we normally would not expect," the
pope said in his homily.
Just as "the joy of salvation began in the daily life
of a young woman's home in Nazareth," he said, God wants to be welcomed into
and given life in the homes of all people.
God is indifferent to no one, the pope said, and "no
situation will be deprived of his presence."
Tens of thousands of people gathered on a warm spring day
for the Mass amid the new leaves and fragile buds on the trees of the park.
Pope Francis used Milan's Ambrosian rite, a Mass that
differs slightly from the Latin rite used in most parts of the world. Some of
the differences included the pope blessing each of the readers and not only the
deacon who proclaimed the Gospel, and the Creed being sung after the offertory,
rather than after the homily.
In his homily, the pope said that like Mary at the
Annunciation, people today naturally wonder how God's promises could be
fulfilled. "But how can this be?" Mary asked.
The same question arises "at a time so filled with
speculation. There's speculation on the poor and migrants, speculation on the
young and their future," the pope said. "While pain knocks on many
doors, while young people are increasingly unsatisfied by the lack of real
opportunities, speculation is abundant everywhere."
Finding and living the joy of the Gospel, he said, is
possible only following the path the Angel Gabriel led Mary on when he told her
she would bear God's son. People must remember the great things God has done
and remember that they belong to the people of God, a community that "is
not afraid to welcome those in need because they know the Lord is present in
Finally, he said, they must have faith in the
"possibility of the impossible," demonstrating the same
"audacious faith" that Mary showed.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- Visiting Milan, the center of Italian fashion
and finance, Pope Francis spent the morning with the poor and those who
minister to them.
He had lunch at the city's historic San Vittore prison,
where all 893 inmates -- men and women -- are awaiting trial.
But Pope Francis began his visit March 25 on the outskirts
of the city, at the "White Houses," a housing development for the
poor built in the 1970s. Three families welcomed the pope into their
apartments: Stefano Pasquale, 59, who is ill and cared for by his 57-year-old
wife, Dorotee; a Muslim couple and their three children from Morocco; and the
Nuccio Onete, 82, was home for the pope's visit, but his
wife, Adele, was hospitalized with pneumonia three days earlier, so the pope
called her on the telephone.
The people of the neighborhood gave Pope Francis a handmade
white stole, which he put on before addressing the crowd.
The fact that it was homemade, he said, "makes it much
more precious and is a reminder that the Christian priest is chosen from the
people and is at the service of the people. My priesthood, like that of your
pastor and the other priests who work here, is a gift of Christ, but one sewn by
you, by the people, with your faith, your struggles, your prayers and your
Arriving next at Milan's massive Gothic cathedral, Pope
Francis met with the archdiocese's pastoral workers and responded to questions
from a priest, a permanent deacon and a religious sister, urging them to trust
in God, hold on to their joy and share the good news of Christ with everyone
"We should not fear challenges," he said. "It
is good that they exist" and Christians must "grab them, like a bull,
by the horns."
Challenges "are a sign of a living faith, of a living
community that seeks the Lord and keeps its eyes and heart open."
Asked by Father Gabriele Gioia about evangelization efforts
that do not seem to result in "catching fish," Pope Francis said the
work of an evangelizer -- of all Christians -- is to set out and cast the nets.
"It's the Lord who catches the fish."
Preoccupation with numbers is never a good thing, Pope
Responding to Ursuline Sister Paola Paganoni, who spoke of
the challenge of reaching out when so many orders are experiencing an aging and
declining membership, the pope spoke as a Jesuit, saying, "The majority of
our founding fathers and mothers never thought they'd be a multitude."
Rather, he said, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to
respond to the real needs of their time and "to build the church like
leaven in the dough, like salt and light for the world."
Just think, he said, a dish with too much salt would be
inedible. And, "I've never seen a pizzamaker who took a half kilo of yeast
and 100 grams of flour to make a pizza. No, it has to be the opposite"
proportion. Christians must be concerned with being leaven in society more than
with being a majority.
It is not up to
the pope to tell religious orders what their focus should be, he said. They
must look to their founding charisms and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But
in all they do, he said, "ignite the hope that has been extinguished and
weakened by a society that has become insensitive to the pain of others. Our
fragility as congregations can make us more attentive to the many forms of
fragility that surround us and transform them into spaces of blessing."- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, ReutersBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sister Carol
Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health
Association, doesn't mince words when it comes to the American Health Care Act, which was short of votes and withdrawn by House Republicans late March 24.
Two days before the GOP
legislation was set for an initial vote in Congress and then delayed due to
last-minute wrangling and efforts to gain support, she described the bill as
a disgrace, a pro-life disaster, a huge step back, catastrophic for Catholic
social teaching and something that would do incredible damage.
The woman religious, who heads
an organization of more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other
health facilities in the United States, has a vested interest in the nation's
health care and she also knows the ins and outs of health care legislation from
working behind the scenes "forever" -- as she describes it -- on the
Affordable Care Act.
At the time that the ACA was
being drafted, some Catholic organizations opposed key elements of the measure.
Once it became law, more than 40 lawsuits were filed to challenge the
subsequent Department of Health and Human Service's mandate requiring that
insurance plans include coverage for artificial birth control, sterilization
and drugs that lead to abortions.
Sister Keehan is quick to point
out that the health care legislation signed into law seven years ago is far
from perfect, but she says it was an "incredible step forward."
"I do recognize the
political conflict and the imperfections in the bill, but when you can make
insurance that much better for people who have it and give 20 million Americans
insurance, that is a huge step forward," she told Catholic News Service
March 21 in her Washington office.
At a 2015 Catholic Health
Association gathering in Washington, President Barack Obama thanked Sister
Keehan for her steadiness, strength and "steadfast voice."
"We would not have gotten
the Affordable Care Act done had it not been for her," he said.
The immediate repeal and replacement
of the ACA was a key promise of President Donald Trump's campaign, but the GOP
health care measure has faced opposition from both conservative and moderate Republicans.
Trump told House Republicans that he will leave ACA in place and move on to tax
reform if they do not support the new health care legislation.
Watching the GOP efforts to
repeal and replace the ACA has been hard for Sister Keehan mainly because she
and other health care leaders were not consulted in the process.
"We should never, ever
throw together a bill that's going to be such a profound impact on the people
of this country in this short of time and without any input from those who care
for them," she said.
The work on these two health
care bills couldn't have been more different, she pointed out, noting that
prior to the ACA launch she felt like she "lived in committee rooms"
because she was constantly meeting with committees, groups and subgroups at the
White House and Congress.
With the GOP health care plan,
she said there wasn't any opportunity for hospital groups or the American
Medical Association to give any advice.
"We've just been
dismissed," she said, noting that she attended a few small group meetings
on Capitol Hill but "they were not meetings to get our input on what ought
to be done with the bill but meetings to tell us what was going to be
"This has just been
railroaded through Congress," she added.
While the U.S. bishops have
applauded pro-life elements of the American Health Care Act, they also have criticized other elements and expressed concern for its impact on the
In a March 17 letter to House
members about the GOP measure, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida,
chairman of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development,
said the inclusion of "critical life protections" in the House health
care bill is laudable, but other provisions, including those related to
Medicaid and tax credits are "troubling" and "must be
He said the bill's restriction
of funds to providers that promote abortion and prohibiting federal funding for
abortion or the purchase of plans that provide abortion "honors a key
moral requirement for our nation's health care policy." But he also
criticized the absence of "any changes" from the current law
regarding conscience protections against mandates to provide certain coverage
or services considered morally objectionable by employers and health care
"The ACA is, by no means, a
perfect law," Bishop Dewane said. "The Catholic bishops of the United
States registered serious objections at the time of its passage. However, in
attempting to improve the deficiencies of the ACA, health care policy ought not
create other unacceptable problems, particularly for those who struggle on the margins
of our society."
Main provisions of the new House
bill include: eliminating the mandate that most individuals have health
insurance and putting in its place a new system of tax credits; expanding
Health Savings Accounts; repealing Medicaid expansion and transitioning to a
"per capita allotment"; and prohibiting health insurers from denying
coverage or charging more money to patients based on pre-existing conditions.
Sister Keehan said she thanked
Bishop Dewane for his letter to Congress and said the bishops had carefully
gone through the legislation measure by measure on a number of issues. She also
noted that she knows people in the pro-life community either think the new bill
is strong enough or not doing enough.
As she sees it, the bill is
"a pro-life disaster in the fact that when you take health care away from
people, you take life."
"If you want to really,
really strengthen the pro-life culture in this country, you make sure people
know that their lives and the lives of their children are so valued by our
country," she said, which means providing quality maternity and pediatric
care and offering programs like Head Start and food stamps.
Although she said under the ACA
no federal funds could be spent on abortion, a nonpartisan government agency in
an assessment of the law in 2014 said abortion coverage was available in some
plans. Sister Keehan also said the law included help for pregnant mothers to
get drug rehabilitation, housing and maternity care, which are not included in
the new bill.
"I don't find this a
pro-life bill at all from every perspective," she added about the new
When asked if there was a silver
lining with people at least talking about the need to provide insurance for all
Americans, Sister Keehan said the health care crisis for so many people doesn't
give "the luxury of time."
"To be the only
industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee all its citizens
health care is a disgrace," she said, adding: "We are at a real
crossroads in our country's sense of its responsibility to its people."
- - -
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- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via EPABy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN
CITY (CNS) -- Europe must recover the memories and lessons of past tragedies in order to confront
the challenges Europeans
face today that seek to divide rather than unite humanity, Pope Francis said.
the founding fathers of what is now the European Union worked toward a
"united and open Europe," free of the "walls and divisions"
erected after World
War II, the tragedy of poverty and violence affecting millions of innocent
people lingers on, the pope told European leaders gathered at the Vatican March 24.
generations longed to see the fall of those signs of forced hostility, these
days we debate how to keep out the 'dangers' of our time, beginning with the long file of women,
men and children fleeing war and poverty, seeking only a future for themselves and
their loved ones," he said.
Francis welcomed the 27 European heads of state to the Vatican to commemorate
the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which gave birth to European
Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.
March 25, 1957, the
treaties sought to unite Europe following the devastation wrought by World War
II. The agreements laid
the groundwork for what eventually became the European Union.
the "Sala Regia" of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis placed his hand above
his heart and bowed slightly to the European leaders before taking his seat. At
the end of the audience, he and the government leaders went into the Sistine
Chapel and posed for a photograph in front of Michelangelo's fresco, The Last
his speech, the pope said the commemoration of the treaty should not be reduced
to "a remembrance of things past," but should motivate a desire
"to relive that event in order to appreciate its significance for the
memory of that day is linked to today's hopes and expectations of the people of
Europe, who call for discernment in the present so that the journey that has
begun can continue with renewed enthusiasm and confidence," he said.
the heart of the founding fathers' creation of a united Europe, the pope continued,
was concern for the
human person, who after years of bloodshed held on "to faith in the
possibility of a better future."
spirit remains as necessary as ever today, in the face of centrifugal impulses
and the temptation to reduce the founding ideals of the union to productive,
economic and financial needs," he said.
But despite achievements in forging unity and
solidarity, Pope Francis
said, Europe today suffers from a "lapse of memory" where
peace is now "regarded as superfluous."
regain the peace attained
in the past, he added, Europe must reconnect with its Christian roots otherwise "the
Western values of dignity, freedom and justice would prove largely
fruitfulness of that connection will make it possible to build authentically secular societies, free
of ideological conflicts, with equal room for the native and the immigrant, for
believers and nonbelievers," the pope said.
economic crisis of the past decade, the crisis of the family "and
established social models" and the current migration crisis, he said, offer an
opportunity for Europe's leaders to discern and assess rather than
"engender fear and profound confusion."
is a time of discernment, one that invites us to determine what is essential
and to build on it," the
pope said. "It is a time of challenge and opportunity."
he added, will find new
hope "when man is at the center and the heart of her institutions"
in order to stem "the growing 'split' between the citizenry and the
European institutions which are often perceived as distant and inattentive to
the different sensibilities present in the union."
migration crisis also offers an opportunity for Europe's leaders to refuse to
give in to fear and "false forms of security," while posing a much
deeper question to the continent's citizens.
kind of culture does Europe propose today?" he asked, adding that the fear of migrants
"has its root cause in the loss of ideals."
an approach inspired by those ideals, we end up dominated by the fear that others will wrench us
from our usual habits, deprive us of familiar comforts and somehow call into
question a lifestyle that all too often consists of material prosperity alone."
defending families, investing in development and peace and defending the family and life
"in all its sacredness," Europe can once again find new ways to steer
its course, Pope Francis told the European heads of state.
leaders, you are called to blaze the path of a new European humanism made up of
ideals and concrete actions," the pope said. "This will mean being
unafraid to make
practical decisions capable of
responding to people's real problems and of standing the test of
Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Gregory A. ShemitzBy George P. Matysek Jr.WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal William H. Keeler, Baltimore's 14th
archbishop, who was an international leader in Catholic-Jewish relations and
the driving force behind the restoration of America's first cathedral, died
March 23 at his residence at St. Martin's Home for the Aged in Catonsville. He
The archdiocese said the cardinal will lie in repose March 27 at the
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore. His funeral
will be celebrated March 28 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, also in Baltimore.Pope Francis, in a papal telegram March 24, sent condolences to Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori and the archdiocese, expressing gratitude for "Cardinal Keeler's years of devoted episcopal ministry" and his "long-standing commitment to ecumenical and interreligious understanding. He called the cardinal a "wise and gentle pastor."
"One of the great blessings in my life was coming to know
Cardinal Keeler," Archbishop Lori said in a
statement March 23. "Cardinal Keeler will be greatly missed. I am grateful to the
Little Sisters for their devoted care for the cardinal."
Keeler was the bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when he was appointed the
14th archbishop of Baltimore in 1989. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in
1994. He retired in 2007. As president of the U.S. bishops' conference from
1992 to 1995, he participated in a wide range of national and international issues.
As part of his work with what is now the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Keeler developed a reputation for effectively
building interfaith bonds. He is particularly noted for his work in furthering
Catholic-Jewish dialogue. He was appointed moderator of Catholic-Jewish
Relations for the USCCB.
"As a priest, bishop of
Harrisburg and archbishop of Baltimore, the cardinal worked to bring the hope
of Christ to people's lives," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston
Houston, who is president of the USCCB. "He also built bridges of
solidarity to people of other faiths as a leader in ecumenism and
"Cardinal Keeler was a dear
friend. The most fitting tribute we can offer is to carry forward his episcopal
motto in our daily lives: 'Do the work of an evangelist,'" Cardinal
DiNardo said in a statement.
He called the late cardinal
"a servant of priestly virtue and gentlemanly manner" who is remembered
by the USCCB for "his generosity of spirit in service to his brothers and
the people of God."
Cardinal Keeler's death leaves the College of Cardinals with 223
members, 17 of whom are from the United States. The College of Cardinals has
117 members under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.
In his statement, Archbishop Lori remarked on
"the respect and esteem" in which the cardinal was held by his
brother bishops, and praised his leadership in Jewish-Catholic relations and in
Orthodox-Catholic relations. Archbishop Lori also said he was known for his
"prowess as a church historian" and had a "deep love and respect
for the history and heritage of the Archdiocese of Baltimore."
Cardinal Keeler was an ardent promoter of the
Catholic Church's teaching on the sanctity of all human life. He twice served
as chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities and
testified at all levels of government on legislation ranging from abortion to
euthanasia to capital punishment.
Among the cardinal's many accomplishments in the
Baltimore Archdiocese, Archbishop Lori highlighted "the wonderful visit of Pope
St. John Paul II to Baltimore in 1995, the restoration of the Basilica of the
Assumption and the creation of Partners in Excellence which has helped
thousands of young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to receive a sound
"When I would visit the cardinal at the Little
Sisters of the Poor (in Cardinal Keeler's retirement), I gave him a report on
my stewardship and told him many times that we were striving to build upon his
legacy -- a legacy that greatly strengthened the church and the wider
community," Archbishop Lori said.
Born in San Antonio and raised in Lebanon,
Pennsylvania, William Henry Keeler knew from an early age he was called to the
priesthood. In a 2005 interview with the Catholic Review, Baltimore's
archdiocesan newspaper, he recalled visiting his grandfather's farm in Illinois
when the local Catholic pastor stopped by for a visit -- pointing to the
4-year-old boy and announcing that he would one day become a priest.
He was ordained a priest in Rome July 17, 1955.
He served as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Marysville,
Pennsylvania, before taking on other assignments as secretary to Harrisburg
Bishop George L. Leech and as a "peritus," or special adviser, during Second
Vatican Council meetings in Rome.
He later was named vice chancellor and vicar
general of the Harrisburg Diocese and named an auxiliary bishop for the diocese
in 1979. Four years later he was appointed its bishop.
"He was a true churchman whom we are greatly
honored to have called a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg," said Bishop
W. Ronald Gainer, head of the diocese since 2014. "His roots and Catholic
education in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, prepared him to do great work for the
people of God.
"This area and diocese benefited
significantly from his leadership and passion for service and
evangelization," Bishop Gainer said. As a priest and bishop, Cardinal
Keeler "worked fruitfully to advance increased cooperation and warmer relationships
between different Christian communities, both locally and nationally. ... I
thank God for his priestly life and ministry and for his inspiring service to
all."Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of
Washington called it "a privilege to have known Cardinal Keeler for more
than three decades."Besides collaborating on USCCB
initiatives, he noted that when he was Pittsburgh's bishop, 1988-2006, and
Cardinal Keeler was Harrisburg's bishop, the two worked closely together
through the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. When then-Bishop Wuerl was named
Washington's archbishop, and Cardinal Keeler was Baltimore's archbishop, they again
had an "opportunity to work on important initiatives through our roles
with the Maryland Catholic Conference," Cardinal Wuerl said. The Washington Archdiocese includes some Maryland counties."Cardinal Keeler was a
beloved pastor of souls, exemplary leader, and a respected collaborator in
ministry," he added in a March 23 statement. "His episcopal motto, 'Do
the Work of an Evangelist,' foresaw our efforts now in the new evangelization
and his efforts to build bridges among peoples offered us an example that is
much needed in today's culture."As Baltimore's archbishop and head of the
nation's first archdiocese, the 1995 papal visit to Baltimore
-- at Cardinal Keeler's invitation was one of the prelate's proudest moments. St.
John Paul II celebrated Mass at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, visited the
Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, shared a meal at Our Daily Bread and
encouraged seminarians at St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park.
A prodigious fundraiser, Cardinal Keeler established what is now
known as the Archbishop's Annual Appeal. In 1997, he launched a major capital
campaign known as Heritage of Hope that raised more than $137 million from more
than 39,000 gifts and pledges.
The cardinal also established the Partners in Excellence program,
which provides tuition scholarships for children in inner-city Catholic
schools. Since its inception in 1996, Partners in Excellence has provided more
than $26 million in tuition assistance.
One of the cardinal's last major efforts was the $32 million
campaign to restore the basilica. After more than two years of construction,
the building was rededicated Nov. 4, 2006 -- 200 years after the basilica's
cornerstone was laid. More than 240 bishops from across the nation were there for
the celebration, marking the first time all the country's bishops gathered in
the basilica since 1989 when the archdiocese marked its bicentennial.
Father Michael White, pastor of the Church of the Nativity in
Timonium and Cardinal Keeler's first priest-secretary in Baltimore, said
Cardinal Keeler "put Baltimore on the map in the Catholic Church."
Father White noted that in addition to the papal visit, Cardinal
Keeler hosted spiritual gatherings in Baltimore in the late 1990s with St.
Teresa of Kolkata and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
Leaders within the Catholic Church and from other faith traditions regularly
visited him in Baltimore and "not a day went by" when bishops from other parts
of the country didn't call for the cardinal's advice, Father White said.
Cardinal Keeler suffered serious health problems in
the latter years of his ministry. He underwent knee replacement surgery in 2005
and had to have brain surgery in 2006 following a car accident in Italy that
resulted in the death of a friend, Father Bernard Quinn of Harrisburg.
In the early part of his retirement, Cardinal
Keeler remained focused on many of the same priorities he had always held:
promoting better relations between the Catholic and Jewish communities,
celebrating Mass every day and staying in touch with friends.
In his final years, one of the U.S. church's
great communicators was frustrated by finding it difficult to find the words to
final years of illness were lived in silent, Christ-like dignity and acceptance
to the will of God," said Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, Cardinal Keeler's
immediate successor in Baltimore, who is grand master of the Equestrian Order
of the Holy Sepulchre.
Referring to Cardinal Keeler's accomplishments as
"monumental," Cardinal O'Brien added that he prays that the cardinal "enjoy a
joyful, eternal rest in the Lord he served so generously."
- - -
Matysek is assistant
managing editor of the Catholic Review, the news website and magazine of the
Archdiocese of Baltimore.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.