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Cardinal Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, dies at 86


  • Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, places a zucchetto on his head as he prepares to offer the opening prayer during a prayer service for Catholic and Jewish leaders hosted by New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at his residence in New York May 12, 2009. Cardinal Keeler died March 23. He was 86. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
  • Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore embraces St. John Paul II at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during the pope's historic 1995 visit to Baltimore. Cardinal Keeler, who retired in 2007, died March 23 at age 86. (CNS photo/The Catholic Review)
  • Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, greets Rabbi Irving Greenberg, founder and president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, after a Feb. 26, 2009, news conference at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. Cardinal Keeler died March 23. He was 86. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, right, and Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, arrive for the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 21, 2010. Cardinal Keeler died March 23. He was 86. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
  • Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien and Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, pray at the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden in Baltimore April 2, 2009, during a memorial service honoring the late pope on the fourth anniversary of his death. Cardinal Keller died March 23 at age 86. (CNS photo/Owen Sweeney III, Catholic Review)

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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 was 86.

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.

"One of the great blessings in my life was coming to know Cardinal Keeler," said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori in a statement. "Cardinal Keeler will be greatly missed. I am grateful to the Little Sisters for their devoted care for the cardinal."

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.

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