The Vatican on Monday released the text of the letter Pope Francis wrote to the 19 men of the Church whom he will be elevating to the College of Cardinals in a February consistory.
Pope Francis announced his decision
to hold the February 22nd consistory and read out the names
of the Cardinals-to-be at the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.
letter, dated the same day, January 12, 2014, begins “Dear Brother, on
the day when your appointment to the College of Cardinals is made
public, I wish to send you a heartfelt greeting along with assurances of
my closeness and my prayers.”
The Pope expresses his hope that
the newly appointed Cardinals will help him “with fraternal
effectiveness in service to the universal Church.”
Cardinalate does not mean a promotion, nor an honor, nor a decoration,”
the Pope writes, “it is simply a service” that calls us to “widen our
gaze and enlarge the heart.” And, “although it seems a paradox,” Pope
Francis observes, “this ability to see farther into the distance and
love more universally with greater intensity can only be achieved by
following the same way of the Lord: the way of bowing down (it.
“abbassamento”) and of humility, in the manner of a servant” (cf. Phil
Pope Francis urged the freshly named Cardinals to
accept their new role “with a simple and humble heart. And, although you
should do so with happiness and with joy, do it in such a way that this
sentiment is far removed from any expression of worldliness, from any
celebration alien to the evangelical spirit of austerity, simplicity and
Inviting the Cardinals designate to pray for him, the
Pope concludes by saying “arrivederci” until they meet again on February
20th, the day on which all the Cardinals will begin a two
day Consistory with reflections on the family.
The newly appointed
Cardinals, from 12 countries from every part of the world, will be
elevated to their new posts in the Consistory February 22nd and together with the Pope will collectively celebrate the Eucharist the following day.