BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Funeral services were held Tuesday for Cardinal William Keeler, who headed the Archdiocese of Baltimore for 18 years.
Thousands of people said goodbye to Cardinal Keeler, a man known as a gentle leader and respected advisor.
WJZ was there for his funeral mass, and Kimberly Eiten saw people arriving at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen hours early to make sure they could be inside the church for Keeler’s funeral.
Tuesday afternoon, the bells tolled for Cardinal William Keeler. A powerful tribute to a gentle man.
Inside the black cloth-draped doors, and out of the rain, a procession of thousands in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.
“In the waters of baptism, William Henry died with Christ, and rose with him to new life. May he now share with him eternal glory.”
Clergy, community members, and religious leaders gathered.
“Cardinal Keeler got me back to the church,” said Maria Johnson.
With nearly two decades of service to the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Cardinal Keeler’s legacy extends beyond his Catholic faith.
This would not be a Cardinal Keeler event without the presence of many interfaith leaders.
Known for uniting faiths, Greek Orthodox leaders remember his guiding hand after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
“Cardinal Keeler surprised us with a visit, by coming,” said Father Constantine Moralis, with the Greek Orthodox Cathedral. “And that evening, he was having a prayer service as well.”
Catholics and non-Catholics alike were at the service Tuesday. As many as 2,500 people inside the church for the funeral mass, followed by a small and private committal inside the Baltimore Basilica.
The Basilica, where Cardinal Keeler lives on in a multi-million dollar restoration, and where he has now been laid to rest.
Years ago, he told WJZ he changed his will after the restoration of the Basilica to make sure he would be committed there, and he was committed to the crypt following the funeral.