Rome (Italy). On 30 September in Rome in St. Peter’s Square, during the Ordinary Public Consistory, Pope Francis created 21 new Cardinals, including the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime. (Video)

On this day of celebration and great joy for the Church and for the entire Salesian Family, among the approximately 12 thousand faithful, numerous Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were present in the Square, including the Vicar General, Sister María del Rosario García Ribas and some General Councilors, Mother Emerita, Sister Yvonne Reungoat, the Provincial Vicar and a representation of  Mary Help of Christians Province (SPA), the Vice President of the Mornese World Confederation of FMA Past Pupils and numerous Past Pupils, various representatives of the SF Groups, young people, pilgrims from Spain and the world.

In the address of homage and gratitude, one of the new Cardinals addressed the Holy Father as follows, “We thank you because the choice you have made allows us to be increasingly at the service of the mission of joyfully proclaiming the Gospel message. (…) Holy Father, you wanted to celebrate this public consistory before inaugurating the Synod on synodality. Being in a synodal Church that knows how to listen to everyone is the way not only to personally live the faith, but also to grow in true Christian fraternity.”

Commenting on the reading of the Pentecost passage from the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis said:

“Like the Baptism of each of us, Pentecost is not a fact of the past; it is a creative act that God continually renews. The Church and each of its members live by this ever-present mystery. The Church and every baptized person live in God’s today through the action of the Holy Spirit. Even the act we are carrying out here now makes sense if we live it from this perspective of faith. And today, in the light of the Word, we can grasp this reality. You new Cardinals have come from different parts of the world and the same Spirit who rendered fruitful the evangelization of your peoples now renews in you your vocation and mission in the Church and for the church.”

He then expressed his message to the new Cardinals with an image: “the College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, which represents the symphony and synodality of the Church. I also say ‘synodality’, not only because we are on the eve of the first Synod Assembly that has precisely this theme, but because it seems to me that the metaphor of the orchestra can well illuminate the synodal character of the Church.” A symphony in which each instrument, in its necessary and indispensable diversity, “gives its contribution, sometimes alone, sometimes combined with someone else, sometimes with the whole ensemble,” in which everyone must however “contribute to the common design. For this reason, mutual listening is essential”.

Subsequently, the Pontiff pronounced the official formula for the creation of the 21 new Cardinals. There was great emotion in seeing Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime approach and kneel before him, for the imposition of skullcap, biretta, and cardinal’s ring, with the assignment of the Deaconry of the Salesian church of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Via Tuscolana in Rome.

Sufficit tibi gratia mea (My grace is sufficient for you, 2 Cor 12:9), is the motto chosen by Fr. Ángel for the cardinalate. In the coat of arms, inside the central shield, the Salesian symbols are recognizable: the figure of Jesus the Good Shepherd, inspirer of Salesian spirituality; the monogram MA, surmounted by a crown, as a tribute to Mary Help of Christians; the anchor, also present in the coat of arms of the Congregation, symbol of the theological virtue of hope, as well as of his origins as the son of a fisherman from the Spanish Sea. (cfr. infoANS)

On Sunday 1 October, at the Salesian Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Rome, he celebrated his first Mass as a Cardinal “with his family”, concelebrated by a large group of confreres, by four Bishops, numerous Provincials and Salesian Superiors from all over the world, by the Rector Major Emeritus, Fr. Pascual Chávez Villanueva, and by the members of the General Council. He was surrounded by family members, representatives of various groups of the Salesian Family, including numerous Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, ambassadors, military and civil authorities, pilgrims from Luanco, Spain, his native country, young people and supporters of the Salesian work. (Video)

In the introductory greeting to His Eminence, Fr. Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, listed three things “that tell us that what we experience is greater than us: the amazement at God’s action, unforeseen and unpredictable. (…) This is a splendid sign of God’s kindness for you as a person, and in you and for you, also for the Congregation and the Salesian Family. Our emotion, our affection is nourished by the amazement at God’s action.”

The second is the “creation as a Cardinal.” “It is a new page in life that the Lord asks of you through the Holy Father, which we celebrate today with joy and affection; which begins here and which will take you where the Lord will want. This creation asks you to give up many things, but fills you with the presence of God, so that in this gift and service, with your profound and authentic humanity, you may always bring the great sense of the Church, of its universality, of love for the Pope, for the poor, and of the centrality of education.”

The third feeling is entrustment. “I dare to compare this Mass to that of Don Bosco at this altar. And this approach is trust: in your person, in what you are for each of us and in what you will be, in what God is in your life, who asks of you and will ask of you. Trust which is the centrality of the presence of God, your motto… May the Word of Christ support you. ‘Follow me’, and never worry about the rest.”

In the homily, Cardinal Artime, after thanking the family for their participation, began by saying, “God loves surprises,” and he continued, “the journey will reveal itself for all of us. We have learned one important thing from the life of Don Bosco who said: ‘Let nothing disturb us and let us trust in the Providence of God’.”

He then recalled an episode in the life of the Holy Founder, the episcopal ordination of John Cagliero, one of his boys, the first Salesian Bishop, described as “one of the most beautiful days of Don Bosco’s life,” in which he said, “I always see more and more what a glorious future is prepared for our society, the extension it will have, and the good it will be able to accomplish.”

Commenting on the Word of God, in particular the Letter to the Philippians (Phil 2: 1-11) he expressed himself as follows: “How difficult is the word of Saint Paul, whoever wants to be a true superior must be the first to serve.” Speaking of humility he said, “I firmly believe that one of our humble contributions to the Church as children of Don Bosco is to continue to testify that we want to live with simplicity, with humility alongside everyone. I will do everything possible to live it simply.”

He continued by saying: “Our service as Pastors of the Church and also as Cardinals is not an honor. It is first and foremost a service of communion with the Pope. Don Bosco taught us to always say ‘Long live the Pope’. We, the Salesian Family and Salesians in the world are and will always be with the Pope. (…) And I believe that it is a great second contribution that we must give to the Church. (…) Service to the Pope, to the Church, and to the people.”

Recalling the importance of Mary’s presence in the fundamental episodes of Don Bosco’s life and the phrase of the dream at nine years – ‘”in its time you will understand everything” – which was revealed to him in its entirety precisely while celebrating at the altar of Mary Help of Christians of this church on 17 May 1887, seven months before his death, he ended with these words: “I live a reality that I don’t understand, but I entrust myself to the Lord and to Our Lady. It is certain that they will help us understand what we are experiencing. I invite everyone to put ourselves in the hands of the Lord and of His Mother.”

The morning of celebration ended with group photos and the simple and spontaneous meeting with the new Salesian Cardinal, accompanied by the joyful songs of the young people of the choir.

Altre foto: FlickrANS


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