By PATTI MENGERS
In the more than 15 years that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua was archbishop of Philadelphia, he was charged with the causes of saints and sinners, financially troubled schools and connecting with close to 1.5 million Roman Catholics.
More than 200,000 Delaware County Catholics were among the faithful overseen by the retired cardinal who died at age 88 Tuesday night at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary after a battle with cancer.
“A true leader has to lead and, at the end of the day, make decisions that do affect people’s lives. I’m sure he made decisions after much prayer and study,” said the Rev. Monsignor Joseph McLoone, who was ordained by Bevilacqua in May 1988.
The monsignor is pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Church in Chester, a parish that was established as a result of Bevilacqua’s controversial decision to merge six parishes into one because of the declining number of Roman Catholics in the small city. In 1993, St. Michael, St. Anthony of Padua, Resurrection of Our Lord, Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Hedwig parishes merged at the site of St. Robert Church to form Blessed Katharine Drexel parish and grade school.
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