By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Catholics across the Archdiocese are invited to a Mass of thanksgiving commemorating the 25th anniversary of Cardinal Justin Rigali’s ordination as a bishop.

The Cardinal will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist of the liturgy scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.{{more}}

As is his custom, the Cardinal will greet congregants in the vestibule of the cathedral as they recess from the Mass.

“Our celebration on Sept. 14 recognizes the unique and far-reaching ways that Jesus Christ has worked for the past 25 years through the ministry of Cardinal Rigali as a bishop,” said Father Zachary W. Navit, director of the archdiocesan Office for Special Projects and coordinator of the event.

“With Cardinal Rigali, we thank Almighty God for all that He has done through his Eminence here in Philadelphia and beyond since his ordination as a bishop by Venerable John Paul II on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in 1985.

“Mass on Sept. 14 is our opportunity to say, ‘thank you’ with Cardinal Rigali to Almighty God for the blessings of these past 25 years.”

Among the prelates scheduled to attend are: Philadelphia Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua; Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a former editor of The Catholic Standard &Times; Cardinal William W. Baum, a former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.; New York Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Edward M. Egan; and Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

Past and present auxiliary bishops of Philadelphia and other bishops who are natives of Philadelphia scheduled to attend include: Retired Auxiliary Bishops Louis A. DeSimone and Robert P. Maginnis; Bishop Joseph R. Cistone of the Michigan Diocese of Saginaw; Harrisburg Bishop Joseph P. McFadden; Bishop Herbert A. Bevard of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; Camden Bishop Joseph A. Galante; Las Vegas Bishop Joseph A. Pepe; Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the West Virginia Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; and Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishops Daniel E. Thomas, Timothy C. Senior and John J. McIntyre.

At press time, 50 bishops, more than 200 priests, 30 permanent deacons and 30 men and women religious were scheduled to attend.

On June 8, 1985, Pope John Paul II appointed Msgr. Rigali titular archbishop of Bolsena and, simultaneously, president of the prestigious Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. The school trains priests to serve in the Holy See’s Diplomatic Corps and Secretariat of State.

Pope John Paul II ordained Msgr. Rigali to the episcopacy Sept. 14, 1985, in the Cathedral of Albano located in the city of Albano Laziale in the province of Rome.

He was appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia July 15, 2003 and installed as the ordinary on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7 of the same year at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

Read more about the Cardinal’s quarter-of-a-century of service as a bishop in The Catholic Standard & Times’ commemorative supplement published in next week’s issue, Sept. 9.

For more information about the Cardinal’s Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral, contact the Office for Special Projects at 215-587-3992.

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