SALT LAKE CITY -- The Centennial Celebration of the Cathedral of the Madeleine will bring the highest ranking American in the history of the Vatican to Salt Lake City this weekend.
His Eminence William Joseph Cardinal Levada will attend and participate in the anniversary celebration. Pope Benedict appointed him to the position he held before becoming Pontiff--Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"It's a rare, rare event that someone of that stature would ever come to Salt Lake City," said Father Robert Moriarty, pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church.
Cardinal Levada is a nearly life-long friend of Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco; Cardinal Levada held that position and appointed Bishop Niederauer to replace him, who then appointed Auxiliary Bishop John Wester to take his place in Salt Lake.
"There is a lot of connection, but like any big international organization, you're going to move into position people who you know and are familiar with the place," Father Moriarty said.
And he knows from a personal experience. He was once a student of now-Cardinal Levada. Then the Archbishop of Portland, Cardinal Levada volunteered to teach a class of seminarians.
"You didn't want to misbehave in his class," Father Moriarty said. "There were no high jinks going on there. We all paid very good attention and toed the line."
Father Moriarty got an "A" in ecclesiology and now has a parish of his own.
With Cardinal Levada's presence, the cathedral's centennial will be a celebration Utah's Catholic community will long remember.
Cardinal Levada will deliver the homily, or sermon, at this Saturday's solemn mass on the cathedral's official anniversary.