Letter of Condolences to Archbishop Lori from Focolare Movement North America

March 25, 2017

Your Excellency:

With heartfelt thoughts and deepest sympathy, we offer our condolences to Your
Excellency and to the Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Baltimore on the death
of his Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus. Cardinal Keeler dedicated
his entire life to the service of God’s people, witnessing His love to every person he met.
His passion for unity was demonstrated in his tireless pursuit of dialogue at all levels,
and in his humility and accessibility to all.

We are profoundly grateful for his long friendship over many years with the
Focolare Movement (Work of Mary) in the United States. The late Cardinal was
instrumental in assisting our Movement in its mission in many different ways, including
opening new paths and bridges of dialogue in the ecumenical sphere and with Jewish
and Muslim communities.

His example remains a beacon of light, encouraging us to live our charism ever
more profoundly, working for the unity of the entire human family.
Assuring Your Excellency of our prayers, we ask through the intercession of Our
Lady, in this her Feast Day, that the Almighty God bestow on the late Cardinal his eternal

United in the Risen Christ,
Paloma Cabetas Enrico Donzelli
Co-Directors, Focolare Movement North America

Statement from the Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of Wilmington

March 23, 2017 — (Wilmington, DE) —
The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, released the following statement today on the passing of William Cardinal Keeler, 14th Archbishop of Baltimore:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Cardinal Keeler. I served with him in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for 18 years as his Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. We communicated daily – in person or by phone – for all of those years. He was a model shepherd, brilliant teacher, and tireless advocate for interfaith bonds, the sanctity of life, and Catholic education. He was a thoughtful, considerate, and humble man who will be missed dearly.
I offer my heart-felt condolences to Cardinal Keeler’s sister, Julia; his niece, Julie; and his extended family. I join with Archbishop Lori, the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Cardinal Keeler’s countless friends around the world as we pray that he may enter the joy of his eternal Master to receive the rewards of his labors.”

The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He has served as parish priest, retreat house administrator, Chancellor, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore until July 7, 2008 when His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Malooly as the Ninth Bishop of Wilmington. He was installed to that post on September 8, 2008.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was established in 1868 and comprises 56 parishes, 18 missions and 30 schools serving the State of Delaware and the nine counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There are over 244,000 Catholics in the diocese. Information about the diocese is available at www.cdow.org on the Internet.

Statement of Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

March 23, 2017 — (Washington, DC) —

It was with deep sadness that I learned early this morning of the death of William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore.  For more than 18 years, until his retirement in 2007, His Eminence served as shepherd of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Washington and all the local Churches in the United States.

It was a privilege to have known Cardinal Keeler for more than three decades. We worked closely together through the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference when he was Bishop of Harrisburg, and again during his time as president of the then-National Conference of Catholic Bishops and United States Catholic Conference.  Following my appointment here as Archbishop of Washington, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work on important initiatives through our roles with the Maryland Catholic Conference. 

A priest for more than 61 years and special advisor to the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Keeler was a beloved pastor of souls, exemplary leader, and a respected collaborator in ministry. His episcopal motto, “Do the Work of an Evangelist,” foresaw our efforts now in the New Evangelization and his efforts to build bridges among peoples offered us an example that is much needed in today’s culture.

Personally, and on behalf of the entire Church of Washington, we join with our sisters and brothers in Baltimore in offering up our prayers that God our Father receive him into his heavenly kingdom, there to rejoice in eternal life in the communion of Christ, whom he so nobly served, and all the saints.

Statement from the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington

March 23, 2017 — (Arlington, VA) —

I join with Bishop Loverde, the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful in the Diocese of Arlington in prayer for the eternal rest of Cardinal William Keeler and for the consolation of his family and friends. In his gentle and unassuming way, Cardinal Keeler truly lived his episcopal motto—Opus Fac Evangelistae (“Do the work of an evangelist”). As the Archbishop of Baltimore, as a promotor of Catholic-Jewish dialogue, in his leadership in the restoration the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for so many other contributions to the Church, Cardinal Keeler will be remembered for his tireless service to the Lord and His people. In faithful prayer, may we commend Cardinal Keeler’s soul to Our Savior, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.

Statement from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

March 23, 2017 — (Annapolis, MD) —

This morning I am very saddened to hear about the passing of Cardinal William Keeler. While Archbishop of the Baltimore diocese for nearly two decades, he spread a message of love, compassion, and selfless service to people of all faiths. As a man who spent his life praying for others, the First Lady and I will be praying for Cardinal Keeler and all of his loved ones.

Statement from the Most Reverend W. Ronald Gainer, Bishop of Harrisburg

March 23, 2017 — (Harrisburg, PA) —

It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler. He served as Bishop of this Diocese from 1983 to 1989. He was a true Churchman whom we are greatly honored to have called a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg. His roots and Catholic Education in Lebanon, PA prepared him to do great work for the people of God. This area and Diocese benefited significantly from his leadership and passion for service and evangelization. Most notably, during his time as a priest and bishop, he worked fruitfully to advance increased cooperation and warmer relationships between different Christian communities, both locally and nationally.  In addition he served at an international level to foster dialogue and understanding with those of the Jewish faith.

 I thank God for his priestly life and ministry and for his inspiring service to all. May we all pray that the powerful mercy of Jesus has ushered him into the eternal life of heaven.

 Joining in sympathy with the members of his family and with all in the family of faith, we mourn his passing from us with confident hope in the Resurrection. 

 May he rest in the peace of Christ.

Telegram from His Holiness, Pope Francis to Archbishop William E. Lori

March 24, 2017 – (Vatican City) –

The following is the full text of the telegram of condolences following the death of His Eminence Cardinal William Henry Keeler on March 23,2017, of the title of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Archbishop emeritus of Baltimore, United States of America. Sent by the Holy Father Francis to His Excellency William Edward Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore.


Telegram from the Holy Father

To the Most Reverend William E. Lori

Archbishop of Baltimore

Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal Keeler’s years of devoted episcopal ministry in the local Churches of Harrisburg and Baltimore, his years of leadership within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and his long-standing commitment to ecumenical and interreligious understanding, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.


See this document  on Holy See Press Office website

Statement from the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., Archbishop of Louisville

March 23, 2017 — (Louisville, KY) —

This morning Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore, died at the age of 86. I am deeply saddened to learn of his death and send my sympathy and prayers to Archbishop William Lori and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

During my years of service with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and later with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I came to know, respect, and love Cardinal Keeler as a true and humble follower of Jesus Christ, a servant of Christ and His Church, and a gentleman who treated all with great dignity.

I join with Archbishop Lori and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as his family and many friends, in praying for the faithful repose of his soul. May dear Cardinal Keeler be welcomed into paradise as a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Catholic Relief Services Mourns the Passing of Cardinal Keeler

March 23, 2017 — (Baltimore, MD) —

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) President Sean Callahan spoke for the agency in mourning the death of Cardinal William Keeler.

“All of us at Catholic Relief Services are saddened by the passing of Cardinal Keeler. As Archbishop of Baltimore – the archdiocese that we call home — he was a good friend to CRS. He welcomed us to Baltimore in 1989 when CRS moved from New York City,” Callahan said.

“He traveled with us to Cuba in 1998 to deliver supplies and hope to the people of that island nation, and blessed our new headquarters here at its dedication in 2007. He will be missed.”

Keeler was Archbishop of Baltimore, the oldest see in the United States, from 1989 until 2007. He was elevated to Cardinal in 1994. Often known for his interest in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, Keeler also served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which oversees CRS, in 1992.

Statement from the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. CAP., Archbishop of Philadelphia

March 23, 2017 — (Philadelphia, PA) —

I was deeply saddened today to learn of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore.

As an alumnus of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and former Bishop of Harrisburg, he had close ties to the Philadelphia region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He served God’s people with apostolic zeal, charisma, and kindness in many ways over several decades. All those who mourn Cardinal Keeler’s passing can find consolation in knowing that he served the Lord well, and that the Lord has welcomed him home.

On behalf of the Church in Philadelphia, I extend prayerful condolences to Cardinal Keeler’s family and many friends as well as Archbishop William E. Lori and the priests, religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

I ask the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to offer prayers for Cardinal Keeler, and our priests to offer Masses for the happy repose of his soul. All of us are very grateful for the gifts of his life and service to the Universal Church. May God grant him the gift of eternal life, and give peace and solace to all those who loved, admired, and respected him.

Statement from the Maryland Catholic Conference

March 23, 2017 — (Annapolis, MD) — The staff of the Maryland Catholic Conference were saddened to learn today of the passing of William Cardinal Keeler, who served as the Conference’s chairman throughout his tenure as Archbishop of Baltimore.

“Cardinal Keeler was a beloved friend and mentor to my predecessor Dick Dowling, and outstandingly kind and supportive to all of the Conference’s staff,” said Mary Ellen Russell, the Conference’s executive director. “He championed the values of the Church in the public square with compassion, respect and collaboration, and his example will continue to be a blessing on our work in Annapolis for many years to come.”

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

Statement from Catholic University

March 23, 2017 — (Washington, DC) — The Catholic University of America remembers Cardinal William H. Keeler, the 14th archbishop of Baltimore. Cardinal Keeler died on March 23, 2017, at the age of 86. He served as a member of Catholic University’s Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2007.

Frank Persico, vice president for University relations and secretary to the Board of Trustees, remembered Keeler first and foremost as a pastor. “He was one’s idea of a caring and loving priest, a pastor who truly cared for his people,” Persico shared. “He had a warm smile and charismatic nature that endeared you to him the moment you met him. These powerful qualities helped him to foster his ministerial objectives of ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.”

Cardinal Keeler’s support for Catholic University included hosting the American Cardinals Dinner in 1998, which elevated the University’s visibility in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. This event, hosted from 1989 to 2015 by American cardinals and archbishops, raised more than $30 million for student scholarships.