PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – He was the bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years. After that, he was made the archbishop of Washington, D.C.
Within the last month, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl was back in his hometown over the weekend to visit with friends and to celebrate Mass.
KDKA’s Stacy Smith sat down with Cardinal Wuerl to ask him about his thoughts as he was elevated to cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
“There was a sense of joy, but there was, I think the overriding sense, was a sense of awe,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “And, I realized, in that short space of how many steps, the top of steps to when you kneel down in front of him, that you’re reflecting that you’re going to be associated much more directly with the work of this man, this bishop, this successor to Peter. And it’s pretty daunting, it’s pretty daunting.”
Smith: When you knelt before him and he put the red biretta on your head. Can I ask what you said to him?
Cardinal Wuerl: Well, it was in response to what he said to me, because you see him smiling and wishing me well in this responsibility. And I took it as a very, very fatherly wish and I just thanked him for putting that trust in me. And he just smiled and patted my hand as if to say “Well, go do it.”
Part of Cardinal Wuerl’s homecoming on Sunday, included celebrating Mass on Mount Washington at the church where he grew up.
“There was a lot of emotion coming into St. Mary of the Mount Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “All the things that have meant so much to me all of my life, as a young man, as a priest, as a bishop and now a cardinal, I first heard in that building. And I think that was part of the joy and the emotion.
And he believes his 18 years as bishop fostered a mutual love and admiration.
“I have an enormous love for Pittsburgh, for the people here. Across the board, not just the people of the Catholic Church. But, the people I had a chance to work with through all those years. And I think part of it has to do with having been around that long,” Cardinal Wuerl said.