Vatican City (Fides Service) – “Unity and openness, communion and mission: this is the breath of the Church. This in particular, is the twofold dimension of the Petrine ministry: service of unity and mission”: Pope John Paul II said this morning in St Peter’s Basilica during a solemn concelebration of Mass with the new Cardinals created during the Consistory yesterday in St Peter’s Square to whom he consigned the cardinal’s ring. “The Bishop of Rome has the joy of sharing this service with the other successors of the apostles, united with him in the one college of bishops. In this service, it is an ancient tradition for the Successor of Peter to avail himself in a special way of the collaboration of his Cardinals. Their College reflects the universality of the Church, the one People of God rooted in the multiplicity of nations”.
In the homily – read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Substitute for the Secretary of State – the Pope affirmed: “the first service which Peter and his Successors render the community of believers is to profess faith in Christ, ‘Son of the living God’” and the Pope reminded the Cardinals: “we are called to bear witness ‘usque ad sanguinis effusionem’”. “Jesus said clearly that persecution of the Apostles and their successors would not be an exceptional fact... The Book of the Acts underlines that while Peter was in prison, "the Church offered prayers for him unceasingly to God". What great courage is infused by the unanimous prayer of the Christian people! I myself have experienced its comfort. And this is our strength. And it is one of the reasons for which I wished to dedicate the 25th year of my pontificate to the Holy Rosary: to underline that prayer takes first place, especially contemplative prayer offered in spiritual union with Mary, Mother of the Church.”
Lastly the Pope urged the Cardinals to cling to Christ: “Let us start out again from Him, from Christ, to announce to all, the wonders of his love. Without fear or hesitation, because he assures us: "Have no fear, I have conquered the world!". Yes Lord we put our trust in you and with you we continue on our path at the service of the Church and humanity!”.
(S.L.) (Fides Service 22/10/2003 – lines 27; words 368)