A Letter from Rome
Dear companion, friend, colleague, the peace of Christ!
On Sunday 1 September 2019 Pope Francis named thirteen new Cardinals and explained “Their nationalities express the missionary vocation of the Church that continues to proclaim God’s merciful love to all the men and women of the world.”
My gratitude goes to him, to God above all, and to you for your response of surprise and delight. In his letter to the new Cardinals, the Pope explained what this really means: “The Church asks of you a new form of service … a summons to greater self-sacrifice and a consistent witness of life.” Everyone knows that the scarlet robes represent the shedding of blood – usque ad effusionem sanguinis – in total loyalty and fidelity to Christ.
“May this new stage in your life,” Pope Francis continues, “enable you to imitate Jesus more closely (Mt 9:36; 14:14; Lk 7:13) and increase your capacity for compassion for all those men and women who, victimized and enslaved by so many evils, look with hope for a gesture of tender love on the part of those who believe in the Lord.” Please make the Pope’s words your prayer for me.
On Sunday 29 September at 10.30 am there will be a very special Mass in St Peter’s Square celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Migrants, refugees, displaced populations and victims of human trafficking have been the focus of my work since the beginning of 2017.
On Friday 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, at 5 o’clock the Holy Father will ordain four new bishops, including myself because this is a requirement for being a cardinal under 80.
The consistory creating the 13 new cardinals takes place on Saturday 5 October at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s not a Eucharist because becoming cardinal is not a sacrament, rather an intense new way of assisting the Holy Father and serving the Church.
And Sunday 6 October, at 10 am , will feature the Holy Eucharist solemnly opening the Special Synod on the Amazon, “new paths for the Church and for integral ecology”. Since July, I have been on a special assignment as one of the two special Secretaries for this very important Synod.
If you are near, you are very welcome. Please ask for the tickets you need for one or more of these events at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
But if you’re far, please don’t make a special trip; you can follow at Vatican Media Live or at Vatican News – Youtube (choose your language from the list on the right) and we’ll be together in spirit and prayer and in the simplicity that the Pope Francis both demonstrates and asks us for.
Thank you for being near in my life and ministry until now, and in my new form of service from now on.
May God bless you very much, as ever,
Roma, Festa dell’Esaltazione della Santa Croce, 14 settembre 2019
Cari amici e colleghi, la pace di Cristo!