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Cardinal William H. Keeler, 14th archbishop of Baltimore, 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.Cardinal Keeler served as the spiritual shepherd of the Baltimore archdiocese from 1989 until his retirement in 2007.Archbishop William E. Lori, one of Cardinal Keeler’s two successors, said one of the great blessings of his life was coming to know Cardinal Keeler, whom he met when the cardinal was bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., and Archbishop Lori was priest-secretary to Washington Cardinal James Hickey. When Cardinal Keeler became archbishop of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori said he learned of “his prowess as a church historian coupled with his deep love and respect for the history and heritage of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.” Among Cardinal Keeler’s many accomplishments in the Baltimore archdiocese, Archbishop Lori highlighted “the wonderful visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Baltimore in 1995, the restoration of the Basilica of the Assumption and the creation of Partners in Excellence which has helped thousands of young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to receive a sound Catholic education.” “When I would visit the cardinal at the Little Sisters of the Poor (in Cardinal Keeler’s retirement), I gave him a report on my stewardship and told him many times that we were striving to build upon his legacy – a legacy that greatly strengthened the Church and the wider community,” Archbishop Lori said in a written statement.
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Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…