William Henry Cardinal Keeler † William Henry Cardinal Keeler †
Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Cardinal Priest of S Maria degli Angeli
Mar 04, 1931
Nov 26, 1994
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English Baltimore Celebrates Cardinal Keeler's Milestone
Oct 15, 2005
Baltimore's archbishop, Cardinal William Keeler, has served as a priest for half a century. On Wednesday, he celebrated the milestone during a special Mass downtown at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

BALTIMORE (October 5, 2005, thewbalchannel.com) -- WBAL-TV 11's Rod Daniels reported hundreds of parishioners attended the Mass to honor Keeler.

Daniels said the cardinal has made many strides since he was ordained in 1955. The Catholic leader is the Baltimore Diocese's 14th archbishop.

It's the same position held by America's first bishop, John Carroll, and Cardinal James Gibbons, who was instrumental in bringing American Catholicism toward greater acceptance.

"As a student of history, I'm very happy to be in a place where our history is lifted up so much," Keeler said.

Keeler himself is credited for lifting up interfaith relations. In particular, he's noted for his work in furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

His relationship with the late Pope John Paul II solidified when Keeler organized papal meetings with Jewish leaders in Florida and protestant leaders in South Carolina.

That relationship helped Keeler convince the pope to visit Baltimore 10 years ago.

Keeler has also faced some difficult challenges during his tenure, from dwindling parishioners to high-profile sex abuse cases in his dioceses.

But Keeler said the experiences have never swayed his faith in the church.

"These years have been years of blessings, but also of learning, and there have been crosses, I don't deny that for an instant," Keeler said. "But I say that in all of this, the joy and the consolation of the priestly ministry has exceeded any cross that came my way."

When asked who made the biggest impact on his life, Keeler took little time to answer.

"There are two people -- my mother and Pope John Paul II -- that will always stay vividly in my mind," Keeler said.

Keeler will turn 75 next spring, and under Catholic rules, he will be required to submit a letter of resignation, which may or may not be accepted by Pope Benedict.

The cardinal said he's doing his best to convince the pope to visit Baltimore next year.
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