Unity of faith with pope among goals for archdiocese
Nov 25, 2007
After kneeling before the pope as an archbishop and rising a "prince" of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said Saturday he felt humbled and honored.
Unity of faith with pope among goals for archdiocese
By TARA DOOLEY
Houston Chronicle, November 25, 2007
THE VATICAN — After kneeling before the pope as an archbishop and rising a "prince" of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said Saturday he felt humbled and honored.
"It is a distinctive honor, not just for Texas, but the whole South of the United States, and certainly for Houston," the leader of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said. "We are proud of it, that the first cardinal ever in the South has been named. It is honor, responsibility and pretty humbling for this kid from Pittsburgh."
In a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, DiNardo officially joined the College of Cardinals, the top rank of the Catholic clergy. Its duties include advising the pope and eventually electing his successor.
Before an audience of thousands that had a gathered from around the world in the central basilica of its faith, Pope Benedict XVI gave 23 men including DiNardo the red hat symbolizing their new role. He told them that they must be willing to shed their blood for the faith.
The hat is "red as a sign of the dignity of the office of a cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith," the pope said.
DiNardo, a priest ordained in Pittsburgh and transplanted to Houston to lead 1.3 million Catholics, climbed the white marble steps to the altar. He knelt before Pope Benedict and was given a zucchetto, a red skullcap. The pope, draped in white and gold robes, placed the three-pointed biretta on DiNardo's head.
Applause from Houston-area residents traveled from the back of the basilica as DiNardo walked away from the altar, securing the new hat on his head.
"I wanted to be very composed in terms of the sacred moment, but I have to admit at the very moment he put it on, my zucchetto was falling off," DiNardo said after the ceremony. "I had to push it back up. But once I stood up, he had a great smile, and he said, 'Peace of the Lord be with you.' And his smile and his encouragement were a great moment for me."
The nearly two-hour ceremony began with remarks from the pope followed by the reading of the names of the new cardinals, who came from countries including France, Spain, Ireland, India, Mexico and Brazil. As each name was read, cheers went up from different sections of the basilica.
When the pontiff called DiNardo's name, Texans made their voices heard.
"I think Houston had the biggest" cheer, said Greg Friend of Spring, who was in the basilica for the first time with his wife, Beth. "I'm pretty sure we were the loudest."
Among the new cardinals was the Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldeans, Emmanuel III Delly of Iraq. In his homily, Pope Benedict spoke of concern, affinity and solidarity with the Christian community in that country.
"Our brothers and sisters in faith are experiencing in the flesh the dramatic consequences of a continuing conflict and are living in an extremely fragile and delicate political situation," the pope said to applause from the crowd.
The number of cardinals in the college is now 201, including 120 who are younger than 80, the age at which a cardinal is no longer eligible to vote for the next pope.
DiNardo's appointment makes him the first to join the College of Cardinals from an archdiocese in the southern United States. In his remarks at a news conference after the ceremony, he talked about his experience in Houston since he arrived as coadjutor bishop in March 2004 and his new role. He described the cultural diversity of Catholic expression as "happy chaos."
"The challenge I see in Houston is to celebrate the richness we have in this great diversity of expression of Catholicism," he said. "But to remember — that is why I'm delighted that there is a red hat — that the unity of the faith with the Holy Father is also extremely crucial if you are going to keep all this working."
Saturday's ceremony originally was scheduled for St. Peter's Square. But Vatican officials moved the event inside, fearing rain, which didn't start to fall until after the service concluded.
Not all of the more than 500 travelers from the Houston area were able to make their way inside the basilica. Angelica Govea, 25, of Houston saw some of her group make the cut, but she was left outside to watch the ceremony on big-screen televisions in the square.
DiNardo and the new cardinals will return to St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday for the "Mass of the Rings," in which the pope will present each of them with a ring that symbolizes their connection to him.
In addition to his role as an adviser and papal elector, DiNardo also was assigned as the titular head of a church in Rome, St. Eusebius Catholic Church. DiNardo said he would not take immediate possession of it.
After the traditional ceremony with the pope, happy chaos ruled at a reception for DiNardo and visitors from his archdiocese at the Pontifical North American College, the American seminary in Rome.
For nearly two hours, the new Cardinal DiNardo greeted crowds of Houston-area faithful, shaking hands, exchanging hugs and posing for endless photos.
Families gathered around him for a memorable photo. A Spanish-speaking group periodically broke out in cheers as they processed through the receiving line.
"Se ve, se siente, DiNardo está presente," one group chanted. Or in English:
"You see it, you feel it, DiNardo is present."
DiNardo's change from archbishop to cardinal was not immediately easy for Kristine Gomez, 23, who came from Houston for the event. It was especially hard as she cheered for DiNardo as he processed out of the basilica.
"He finally came out and I said 'Archbish ... I mean Cardinal DiNardo,' " she said.