Pope Francis Creates 13 New Cardinals and says "We all love Jesus, we all want to follow him, but we must always be careful to stay on the road." FULL TEXT + Video from Vatican

Vatican News reports that Pope Francis on Saturday, November 28, 2020 held the 7th ordinary public consistory of his pontificate to create 13 new cardinals. These cardinals come from 8 nations of the world and their biographies are found below (the homily).

 Due to the COVID pandemic, Asia’s two new cardinals, Bishop Cornelius, Apostolic Vicar of Brunei and Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz, Philippines, were unable to come to the Vatican for the consistory. They followed the ceremony that was live-streamed live from the Vatican. They will be handed their biretta, ring and title later in their respective countries.  

 He provided a reflection before bestowing on them the cardinal’s berretta (red hat), the ring and the title. During the consistory, the cardinals-designate professed the creed together and approached Pope Francis one by one who placed the red biretta on each one of them, giving them the cardinal’s ring and the title and rank. Vatican News explained that Pope Francis announced the names of 13 new cardinals during the midday “Angelus” prayer on Sunday, October 25. Four of these cardinals are above 80 years of age and hence are not eligible to vote for a new pope in the case of a conclave. With the consistory of November 28, the total number of cardinals in the world rises to 229, of which 101 are 80 or above.  

Pope Francis' Reflection:

The road. The road is the setting of the scene just described by the Evangelist Mark (10:32- 45). It is always the setting, too, for the Church’s journey: the road of life and history, which is salvation history insofar as it is travelled with Christ and leads to his paschal mystery. Jerusalem always lies ahead of us. The cross and the resurrection are part of our history; they are our “today” but also and always the goal of our journey.  

This Gospel passage has often accompanied consistories for the creation of new Cardinals. It is not merely a “backdrop” but also a “road sign” for us who today are journeying together with Jesus. For he is our strength, who gives meaning to our lives and our ministry. Consequently, dear brothers, we need carefully to consider the words we have just heard.
Mark emphasizes that, on the road, the disciples were “amazed” and “afraid” (v. 32). Why? Because they knew what lay ahead of them in Jerusalem. More than once, Jesus had already spoken to them openly about it. The Lord knew what his followers were experiencing, nor was he indifferent to it. Jesus never abandons his friends; he never neglects them. Even when it seems that he is going his own way, he is always doing so for our sake. All that he does, he does for us and for our salvation. In the specific case of the Twelve, he did this to prepare them for the trials to come, so that they could be with him, now and especially later, when he would no longer be in their midst. So that that they could always be with him, on his road.
Knowing that the hearts of his disciples were troubled, Jesus “once more” called the Twelve and told them “what was to happen to him” (v. 32). We have just heard it ourselves: the third announcement of his passion, death and resurrection. This is the road taken by the Son of God. The road taken by the Servant of the Lord. Jesus identifies himself with this road, so much so that he himself is the road. “I am the way” (Jn 14:6), he says. This way, and none other.
At this point, a sudden shift takes place, which enables Jesus to reveal to James and John – but really to all the Apostles – the fate in store for them. Let us imagine the scene: after once again explaining what will happen to him in Jerusalem, Jesus looks the Twelve squarely in the eye, as if to say: “Is this clear?” Then he resumes his journey, walking ahead of the group. Two of his disciples break away from the others: James and John. They approach Jesus and tell him what they want: “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (v. 37). They want to take a different road. Not Jesus’ road, but a different one. The road of those who, perhaps even without realizing it, “use” the Lord for their own advancement. Those who – as Saint Paul says – look to their own interests and not those of Christ (cf. Phil 2:21). Saint Augustine speaks of this in his magnificent sermon on shepherds (No. 46). A sermon we always benefit from rereading in the Office of Readings.
Jesus listens to James and John. He does not get upset or angry. His patience is indeed infinite. He tells them: “You do not know what you are asking” (v. 38). In a way, he excuses them, while at the same time reproaching them: “You do not realize that you have gone off the road”. Immediately after this, the other ten apostles will show by their indignant reaction to the sons of Zebedee how much all of them were tempted to go off the road.
Dear brothers, all of us love Jesus, all of us want to follow him, yet we must always be careful to remain on the road. For our bodies can be with him, but our hearts can wander far afield and so lead us off the road. The scarlet of a Cardinal’s robes, which is the colour of blood, can, for a worldly spirit, become the colour of a secular “eminence”.
In this passage of the Gospel, we are always struck by the sharp contrast between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus is aware of this; he knows it and he accepts it. Yet the contrast is still there: Jesus is on the road, while they are off the road. Two roads that cannot meet. Only the Lord, through his cross and resurrection, can save his straying friends who risk getting lost. It is for them, as well as for all the others, that Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem. For them, and for everyone, will he let his body be broken and his blood shed. For them, and for all, will he rise from the dead, and forgive and transform them by the gift of the Spirit. He will at last put them back on his road.
Saint Mark – like Matthew and Luke – included this story in his Gospel because it contains a saving truth necessary for the Church in every age. Even though the Twelve come off badly, this text entered the canon of Scripture because it reveals the truth about Jesus and about us. For us too, in our day, it is a message of salvation. We too, Pope and Cardinals, must always see ourselves reflected in this word of truth. It is a sharpened sword; it cuts, it proves painful, but it also heals, liberates and converts us. For conversion means precisely this: that we pass from being off the road to journeying on God’s road.
May the Holy Spirit give us this grace, today and forever. 

Biographies of the 13 Cardinals by Vatican New.va

Cardinal Mario Grech of Malta is the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops.  The 63-year old former Bishop of Gozo was ordained a priest on May 26, 1984.  With a licentiate and doctorate from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and the Angelicum respectively, he has held several posts, including teaching, in the Church in Malta.  Pope Benedict appointed him bishop in 2011 and Pope Francis called him to Rome as pro-secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.  He was appointed is General Secretary on September 15, 2020.

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro from Italy’s Apulia region is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican. Ordained a priest on September 8, 1971, the 72-year old cardinal taught dogmatic theology ecclesiology following his studies in Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University.  Appointed Bishop of Oria in 1998 he was transferred to Albano Diocese in 2004.   In 2013, Pope Francis appointed him secretary of the "Council of Cardinals", which advises him on the government of the Church and the Roman Curia.  On 15 October 2020, Pope Francis appointed him the head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, Archbishop of Kigali  (Rwanda), lost his family, except a brother, in the genocidal war of 1994. After his studies in Burundi, Uganda and Kenya, where he also did his philosophical studies, he returned to Rwanda.   The 62-year old cardinal was ordained a priest by Saint John Paul II in Rwanda 1990,  after which he taught in the Minor Seminary of Ndera (Kigali).  He has a doctorate in moral theology from Rome and has headed the Caritas of Kigali and the diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace. Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Kibungo in 2013 and transferred him to the Archdiocese of Kigali in 2018.

Cardinal Gregory Wilton, Archbishop of Washington, USA, is from Chicago, Illinois, where he completed his philosophical studies. Ordained a priest in 1973, he obtained a doctorate in liturgy from Rome’s Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 1983, Bishop of Belleville in 1993, Archbishop of Atlanta in 2004 and Archbishop of Washington in 2019.  He was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2001 to 2004.  

Cardinal Jose F. Advincula, Archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1976.  The 68-year old cardinal was the spiritual director of the St. Pius X Seminary, where he was also professor and dean of education.  He studied Psychology and Canon Law between Manila and Rome, obtaining a licentiate in Canon Law. Back home, he served in the seminaries of Vigan, Nueva Segovia and in the regional seminary of Jaro. In 1995 he was appointed rector of the St. Pius X Seminary of Capiz and became the Defender of the Bond, promoter of justice and finally judicial vicar of the archdiocese.  He was appointed Bishop of San Carlos in 2001 and was transferred to Capiz as archbishop in 2011. 

Cardinal Celestino Aós Brac O.F.M.Cap, is the Archbishop of Santiago, Chile.  Born in Artaiz, Spain, the 75-year old cardinal was sent Chile in 1983, where he worked in a parish and served as treasurer of the Capuchins in the country.  Later, he also served in the ecclesiastical courts of Valparaiso Diocese and Concepción Archdiocese and was treasurer of the Chilean Association of Canon Law.  Appointed Bishop of Copiapó in 2014, he was appointed apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Santiago in March 2019 and was nominated its Archbishop December that year. 

Cardinal Cornelius Sim, is the Apostolic Vicar of Brunei.  The 69-year old electrical graduate and engineer was ordained a priest in 1989.  In 1997, when Saint Pope John Paul II separated Brunei from the Diocese of Miri-Brunei and established the Apostolic Prefecture of Brunei, he appointed the cardinal as its prefect.  When Brunei was raised to the rank of Apostolic Vicariate, he was appointed its first Apostolic Vicar.  He thus became the country's first bishop.

Cardinal Augusto Paolo Lojudice, Archbishop of Siena-Colle Val d'Elsa-Montalcino, Italy,  was ordained a priest in 1989.  He has held several responsibilities in Rome Diocese, such as spiritual father at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and the parish priest of San Luca al Prenestino.   In 2015, he was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Rome.  In May 2019, Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Siena-Colle Val d'Elsa-Montalcino. Currently, he serves as secretary of the Commission for Migration of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI).   

Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, an Italian priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual ( OFM Conv), was consecrated bishop on November 22, in view of the consistory.   The 55-year old graduate in mechanical also has a licentiate in theological anthropology.  Ordained a priest in 2000, he was elected superior of the Conventual Franciscans of St. Anthony’s Province, Bologna.  In 2013 he was called to serve as the Custos (guardian) of the Sacred Convent of Saint Francis in Assisi, until 2017.

Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of Mexico is the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas.  Ordained a priest in 1963, the 80-year old cardinal has held several responsibilities in his native Toluca Archdiocese. He was appointed Bishop of Tapachula in 1991.  He has served as general secretary of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM).   In  2000, Saint Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi of Italy is a Scalabrinian Missionary is a former apostolic nuncio and Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations.  Ordained a priest in 1965, the 80-year old cardinal served as director of the US bishops’ Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees & Travelers.  From 1989 to 1996, he was secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, after which he was appointed archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Eritrea.  In 2000, he was appointed apostolic nuncio to Djibouti. From 2003 to 2016 served as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the UN offices and other organizations in Geneva.   In 2016, Pope Francis appointed him a member of the former Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, now the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap is the Preacher of the Papal Household.  The 86-year old Italian graduate in theology and classical literature is a former professor of the University of the Sacred Heart of Milan.  A former member of the International Theological Commission, he left teaching in 1979 to devote himself to the ministry of the Word. Pope John Paul II appointed him the Preacher of the Papal Household in 1980, a post that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have also confirmed.  His numerous books have been translated into many languages.

Cardinal Enrico Feroci of Italy is the parish priest of the noted Roman Marian sanctuary of Divino Amore (Divine Love).  The 80-year old cardinal was ordained a priest in 1965 and held several responsibilities in Rome Diocese.  He was appointed Chaplain of the Pope in 1995. Since 2017 he has been Rector of the Sanctuary of Divino Amore and since 2018 Rector of the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love. In 2019, he was appointed parish priest of the sanctuary.