Raymond Burke to succeed Rigali as St. Louis archbishop

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Raymond Burke, who headed the Roman Catholic diocese in La Crosse, Wis., for nearly a decade, on Tuesday was named archbishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II.

Burke, 55, succeeds Justin Rigali, now a Cardinal, who left St. Louis in October to take over the Philadelphia archdiocese. Burke's installation as archbishop is scheduled for Jan. 26.

Bishop Joseph Naumann, archdiocesan administrator for St. Louis, called Burke "one of the most gifted members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is respected amongst his brother bishops for his intelligence, dedication and prayerfulness.

"It is exciting to reflect upon the many ways in which the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be enriched, strengthened, and renewed by his leadership as archbishop,' Naumann said.

Like Rigali, Burke has ties to Rome. He studied at the American seminary and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, was ordained a priest in a St. Peter's Basilica ceremony and was elevated to bishop in a ceremony presided over by Pope John Paul II.

Burke, born in Richland Center, Wis., was appointed bishop of La Crosse on Dec. 10, 1994. He was scheduled to speak at a Tuesday morning news conference in St. Louis.

Burke was ordained a priest on June 29, 1975, in Rome.

The St. Louis Archdiocese includes 550,000 members and 220 parishes. The Diocese of La Crosse includes more than 200,000 Catholics in 169 parishes in west-central Wisconsin.

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