By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

Cardinal Justin Rigali has appointed Father Paul M. Kennedy regional vicar of the Philadelphia-North vicariate and Msgr. Michael T. McCulken regional vicar of the Montgomery County vicariate.

Msgr. Arthur E. Rodgers has also been named rector of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Father Kennedy will remain pastor of St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Northeast Philadelphia, succeeding Msgr. Joseph L. Logrip as regional vicar. {{more}}

Msgr. McCulken, currently the Cathedral rector, succeeds Msgr. Rodgers as Montgomery County vicar and as pastor of St. Matthias Parish in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County.

The appointments become effective Monday, June 21.

Father Kennedy, 58, was ordained a priest in 1977.

He has served the Philadelphia-North vicariate for nearly two decades: as principal of Cardinal Dougherty High School in the Olney section of Philadelphia from 1992 to 1993, as president there from 1993 to 2005 and as pastor of St. Katherine of Siena Parish in the Torresdale section of the city since June 2005.

Father Kennedy is a native of the Philadelphia-North vicariate. Raised in Holy Cross Parish in the Mount Airy section of the city, he graduated from Holy Cross School in 1965 and from Cardinal Dougherty High in 1969.

Father Kennedy’s familiarity with the vicariate extends to the many parishes represented at Cardinal Dougherty during his years as an administrator there. In addition, he served as a priest in residence at St. Bridget Parish in the East Falls section of the city for the first three of his 13 years as an administrator at Dougherty.

“There is a lot of promise and vitality in the vicariate,” he said. “I look forward to renewing old acquaintances and being of assistance in any way that I can as we move forward to build up the kingdom.”

Father Kennedy is eager to begin working with the regional bishops and the priests of the vicariate “in developing all of the opportunities that will present themselves within the vicariate,” as well as with the deacons, religious and lay people.

Msgr. McCulken, 59, was ordained a priest in 1976.

He anticipates meeting the parishioners of St. Matthias Parish and working with the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the Montgomery County vicariate. With his new flock, he hopes to “be able to continue to collaborate in the work of the Gospel and the building up of the Church within the vicariate.”

Among other assignments, Msgr. McCulken served as regional vicar of the Delaware County vicariate from 1997 to 1998 and as the Archdiocese’s assistant vicar for administration from 1998 to 2009.

Msgr. McCulken was appointed rector of the Cathedral in June 2006. Throughout his four years as rector, Msgr. McCulken has assisted the Cardinal in overseeing major renovations to the Cathedral.

“I’ve enjoyed the work and the ministry,” he said. “I’ll miss the Cathedral and the wonderful parishioners … and the work that we’ve accomplished together. I know they will be in good hands with Msgr. Rodgers.”

Msgr. McCulken said he is grateful to the Cardinal for his confidence and trust with this new assignment.

Msgr. Rodgers, 70, was ordained a priest in 1965. He has served as pastor of St. Matthias Parish since June 1990 and as Montgomery County’s regional vicar since June 2005.

“After 20 years at St. Matthias, I have come to love the people and to admire their deep dedication and fidelity to the Church,” he said. “The people of Montgomery County have been an inspiration in so many parishes,” he said, and “a beacon of hope for the Church.”

At the same time, Msgr. Rodgers is ready to begin the next chapter of his priesthood. “To be the rector of the Cathedral Basilica, the mother church of the Archdiocese, is really a great privilege,” he said. “With God’s help, serving the parishioners of the Cathedral parish will be a great joy.”

He praised his predecessor, Msgr. McCulken, for his leadership. “I’m learning quite clearly that the people really appreciated his devotion to them and to the parish.”

Msgr. Logrip, who in addition to serving as regional vicar for Philadelphia-North is currently the pastor of Mother of spanine Grace Parish in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, has been appointed pastor of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish in North Wales, Montgomery County.

Msgr. Logrip succeeds Mary, Mother of the Redeemer’s founding pastor, Msgr. Philip C. Ricci, who has been named pastor emeritus of the 23-year-old parish.

Father Walter J. Benn, currently the pastor of St. Aloysius Parish in Pottstown, Montgomery County, succeeds Msgr. Logrip as pastor of Mother of spanine Grace Parish.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or