Grace upon grace...
The beginning of the month of October was very intense in Rome. Launching of the extraordinary missionary month on the 1st of October , commemorating and reviving the very strong missionary appeal made by Benedict XV in his Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” a hundred years ago.
“Baptised and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world.” To speak today of the ones baptised and sent means that each baptised person, at his or her level, can be a missionary, can be the instrument of the proposal that God wants to make to Man, through his or her personal witness, prayer and offering.
But even nearer to our heart and identity was certainly the creation of 13 new Cardinals taken for a great part from missionary institutes, among whom our confrere Michael Fitzgerald. A lot has been written about the event. The General House was full of guests, between the 25 family members and friends of Michael Fitzgerald and a few of the Congolese Bishops who had come to celebrate the creation of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa.
The Pope had called a Constistory for Saturday the 5th of October at 16 hours to elevate the 13 new Cardinals. For that occasion, all the Cardinals of Rome were present to welcome their new brothers. A few minutes before 3 in the afternoon, “Cardinal Fitzgerald to be” appeared in his scarlet cassock but without the scarlet zuchetta and biretta, both of which he would receive from the hands of the Pope himself during the ceremony. You will recognize on the left side of the photo our confreres, Bishop Willy Ngumbi, and Martin Wullobayi, professor at the Pisai, chose by the new Cardinal as his personal secretary for the ceremony.
The following video is the part of the consistory when the Pope is inviting the “Cardinals to be” to profess their faith, when he wears them with the scarlet zuchetta and biretta and when the new Cardinals are welcomed and congratulated by the College of Cardinals present. This extract of the ceremony just lasts 24 minutes. If you want to see the full video (1h15), follow this link.
After the ceremony, each of the new Cardinals were given a space where they could be met and congratulated by their family members and friends. Back to the house around supper time, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald still founds the energy to come and share a bit of the evening time with the confrères of the Services and a few others. This shows how simple and fraternal Michael is with his “family”.
On Sunday, the new Cardinals were concelebrating with the Pope the morning mass on St. Peter’s Square for the big celebration inaugurating the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region.
At one o’clock in the afternoon, all the ceremonies and liturgies were finished. It was then time for celebration. In his congratulating speech, Father Stan Lubungo, superior general, commented on the “Coincidence” of this honour given to Michael but also to all of us and remembering the beatification of our 4 confreres martyred in Algeria and the proclamation of an extraordinary missionary month this October, all occurring within our Jubilee Year, he preferred speaking of a “wink” of God… as we are harvesting “Grace Upon Grace”!