Knoxville Catholics took note of the news out of Philadelphia two weeks ago. Cardinal Justin Rigali’s letter of retirement was accepted earlier than expected. Before the announcement, some church-watchers thought he might be headed to Rome for a few years before eventually retiring to Knoxville, as reported here last year. More recently the columnists have taken to describing him as “embattled.”
Cardinal Rigali will wrap up his tenure in Philadelphia on September 8th, which puts him in Knoxville in time for the fall colors and most of the UT football season. He’ll miss Boomsday by a few days. I think the people of Tennessee will make him feel welcome. I wonder if he will occasionally celebrate Mass at any of the local parishes or if he will keep a low profile in the Bishop’s residence.
It’s reasonable to assume that Cardinal Rigali will be in Washington on September 14th for the memorial Mass for Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Sambi died on July 27th. Sambi and Rigali were both in Knoxville in 2009 for the ordination of Bishop Richard Stika.