Schönstatt - Begegnungen

Loving the Church, Serving the Life of All

Largest-ever Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals held in Rome

Pope John Paul II receiving new Cardinal Errázuriz
Papst Johannes Paul II empfängt Kardinal Errázuriz
Foto: El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile
Radiant blue skies and sunshine added spring atmosphere to the festivities
Strahlend blauer Himmel und Sonne sorgten bei den Feierlichkeiten für eine frühlingshafte Atmosphäre
Pope John Paul II said that the new cardinals from 27 nations are a sign of the universal church's goal to preach the gospel to all peoples
Papst Johannes Paul II sagte, die neuen Kardinäle aus 27 Nationen seien ein Zeichen der Universalität der Kirche und ihrer Sendung, das Evangelium allen Völkern zu bringen
(mkf) Accompanied by their spiritual families, 44 new Cardinals from 27 countries were created on the feast of St. Peter Damian during the largest-ever consistory. The new 'Princes of the Church' are called to serve and help the universal Church to spread the good news all over the world. Among those created Cardinal is Schoenstatt Father Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile. Until 1990 he had been Chairperson of the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement.

Radiant blues skies, sunshine and a fresh breeze made for a picture perfect spring setting in St. Peter's Square, Rome, on the morning of February 21, the day of the largest-ever consistory for the creation of 44 new Cardinals. The organization committee estimated 15,000 guests of the new cardinals to come, plus a good number of spectators who would not miss the unusual ceremony of the creation of new "Princes of the Church"; 35,000 - 40,000 persons joined in the ceremony that was broadcast live (same time) in several countries.

Schoenstatt members and friends from all countries attended the festivities in Rome or sent their prayers to their new Cardinals. There were hardly any among them in whose countries or dioceses Schoenstatt contacts did not exist, especially through the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, the Shrines and the commitment of priests and lay people from the Schoenstatt Movement in service of the local churches.

A Joy, a Responsibility, and a Call for the Schoenstatt Movement

Schoenstatt Father Errázuriz being among the new Cardinals means a joy, means a uniting joy, a responsibility and a call for the Schoenstatt Movement, said Father Sidney Fones in an interview a couple of days before the consistory: the call to love the Church here and now and to serve the life of all together with the Church. This, he said, was an attitude that marked the work of the new Cardinal so far. The constant readiness for dialogue and reconciliation he showed during his assignment in Chile would prove a covenant history of God and man and of persons with each other to be possible. During the years of his exile in Milwaukee, Father Kentenich, the founder of Schoenstatt, had expressed the wish that the words "He loved the Church" would be written on his tomb, added Father Fones. This, he said, would set a lasting goal for the Movement in view of the new evangelization, and the efforts towards peace, justice, reconciliation, and social community.

Fire of Love for The Church

During his talk, Pope John Paul II said that the color of scarlet of the Cardinals' vestments would be "a symbol of a passionate love for Christ. Do we not see indicated in that bright red the burning fire of love for the Church which should nourish in you the willingness, if necessary, to give the supreme witness of blood?" He recalled that "Cardinals must assist and collaborate with the Successor of Peter to alleviate the burdens of a ministry which extends to the four corners of the earth. Together with him you must be strenuous defenders of the truth and custodians of the patrimony of faith and customs which have their origin in the Bible. You will thus be sure guides for everyone and, above all, for priests, consecrated persons and committed lay persons."

"As of today," continued John Paul II, "a special bond links you to the Successor of Peter. ... This tie makes you an eloquent sign of communion. You will be promoters of communion, and the entire Church will be the beneficiary." The Pope underlined that "today you have been proclaimed and created Cardinals so that you will commit yourselves, in your respective fields of competence, to making sure that the spirituality of communion grows in the Church."

After the creed and a common act of loyalty, each Cardinal-designate walked ahead, knelt by the Pope and received the decree and the Cardinal's hat. A sea of Chilean flags was seen when Cardinal Errázuriz had his turn. "Since 1998, he has been Archbishop of Santiago, Chile," the speaker said on the German TV. "He belongs to the Schoenstatt Movement, and worked for reconciliation in Chile after the era of Pinochet." Many representatives of the Schoenstatt Movement were present members of the General Presidium, delegates of various communities and many individual Schoenstatt members, especially from Chile and Germany, who wanted to be there when a Schoenstatt member become Cardinal. The German Schoenstatt Movement will present to the new Cardinal a stone from the Original Shrine with a gilded Schoenstatt signet and the numbers "1914" and "2001".

English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA

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