Bishop Ricken recalls Scalia's Green Bay visit

(Photo Credit: WLUK)

Hundreds of people filled St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Sunday afternoon, just as they did in October 2010 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in attendance at the invitation of Bishop David Ricken.

"It was so nice to have him around," said Ricken. "It was like talking to anybody, so I got to know him pretty well. We aren't friends or anything, but I got to know him pretty well."

Bishop Ricken first met Scalia in 2003 or 2004. Both were in Rome to see the Pope.

"He was so friendly and approachable," said Ricken. "I couldn't believe it, just a real down to earth man."

Ricken invited Scalia to Green Bay for the inaugural "Red Mass", marking the beginning of Northeast Wisconsin's St. Thomas More Society, a professional group for lawyers.

After the mass, Scalia spoke at a dinner at the KI Convention Center. The justice asked the media to not take audio or video recordings of his speech.

"He opened the address after the mass with a beautiful talk and everybody remembers it," said Ricken. "There was 400 or 500 people at the dinner. A lot of people were at the mass. He just spoke so well and so reasonable."

Scalia stayed with Bishop Ricken two nights. One of the mornings he was here, Scalia went duck hunting with some of the judges and lawyers that were at the mass.

"That was one of the things we used to entice him was to go duck hunting," said Ricken.

On a hunting trip in Texas is where Scalia died. He was found in his room after he didn't show up for breakfast.

"He was a simple man and very approachable. He'll be missed by a lot, a lot of people and by our country's leadership as well," said Ricken.

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