THE CONSISTORY: Il Primo
Most Blessed Father,
It is with a moved heart, full of gratitude and trepidation, that in the name of the Cardinals created by Your Holiness, I wish to express to you our sentiments in this solemn and binding hour for our poor beings which already through the power of Holy Orders are entirely consecrated to the Lord and to the service of his Church
You, Holy Father, in an act of sovereign and loving fatherhood -- which has shone through all your movements in this first year of a luminous and serene Pontificate -- wanted to mark us with the Roman Purple, calling us to be part of this College of Cardinals, which for over a millennium has offered to the Vicar of Christ the humble contribution of its collaboration in the fulfillment of your Universal Apostolic Ministry as Successor of the Apostle Peter.
In this first year of your Pontificate we're the first group of Cardinals created to continue alongside the other Eminences the work of collaboration with Your Holiness in the Roman Curia and in the episcopal Sees scattered across the whole of the globe. To be titulars (title-holders) of Roman Churches unites us more closely to the Church of Rome and to he who "presides in charity," making us not solely collaborators of Your Holiness in the mission for the unity of the Church, but also witnesses of its catholicity, called from all the world.
We profoundly feel the charge of this grave responsibility, which demands even greater dedication, and for this reason we make our incessant pledge of total love and of unconditional fidelity to Christ the Lord and to the Christian people, the destination of our apostolate and of our pastoral service....In a special way today, we now call upon the Holy Spirit, that he may sustain with his light and strength the Apostolic Ministry of Your Holiness and grant to all of us, called to cooperate in the service of the Successor of Peter, and to those who accompany us by their presense, with their prayers and their affection, the generosity of the Christian call and the joy of sounding it and remaining servants of the Gospel.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles, assist us on this eve of the Liturgical Solemnity of the Annunciation. May her fiat also be our own.
PHOTO: AP/Andrew Medichini