Consistory Accomplished

After much effort on the part of everyone—from the Holy Father down to the innumerable security teams throughout the city—there are now 23 new cardinals of the Catholic Church. I’m sorry for the delay in posting all of this, but some of that effort (albeit one concerning post-consistory hospitality) was on the part of the North American College, and let’s just say it’s been super busy around here lately. Nevertheless, all those new cardinals are well worth the time we’ve put into making things run smoothly! Immediately following the actually consistory ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10:30 in the morning, all the American cardinals in town—8 in total—arrived by bus to the NAC for a large-scale reception, which kept on rolling until about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The two new American cardinals—John Foley and Daniel DiNardo—both had private receptions here at the College and hosted around 1,200 people total… needless to say it was pretty ‘intense.’

Like anything notable in this City, however, there is more. Today, at about Roman noon, the final leg of the consistory marathon came to a completion with the Ring Mass at the Vatican; during the Mass, the Holy Father confers the signet rings on the hands of the newly named cardinals with the words, Accipe anulum de manu Petri et noveris dilectione Principis Apostolorum dilectionem tuam erga Ecclesiam roborari (Receive this ring from the hand of Peter and know that your love for Christ is strengthened by the love of the Prince of the Apostles). Although it was raining toward the end of the liturgy and many of the pilgrims were forced to sit outside the basilica, the spirit of gratitude for the new cardinals was not stifled. Acknowledging their patience, the pope even made an appearance in the piazza after Mass to talk with those who weren’t able to get inside. All in all, today was really great, despite the rain. I suppose that’s to be expected when something this big, involving Benedict XVI and the whole College of Cardinals, happens right in your own backyard…

On a final note, today also happens to be the Feast of Christ the King—the final Sunday before the celebration of Advent. The Holy Father’s homily at Mass spoke directly to the significance of this beautiful feast, as well as its connection with the installation of cardinals who are now “princes of the Church,” but ultimately ought to be willing to shed their blood as Christ, the true King, did for his beloved Bride.