.- As Cardinal Camillo Ruini celebrated the 25th anniversary of his consecration as bishop at a Mass on Saturday, he received a special giftâa letter from Pope Benedict thanking him for his dedicated service.
In his Letter, which is dated 19 June, the Pope thanked the cardinal for his "commitment to serving the Church of Rome" since January 1991 when he was appointed vicar general of the diocese.
Benedict XVI recalled that certain episodes during "these years of episcopate in the direct service of the Bishop of Rome", such as "the planning and celebration of the Citizens' Mission in preparation for the Great Jubilee 2000," the culminating moment of which "was the 20th World Youth Day."
Cardinal Ruini has also been a great support to scores of priests, Benedict XVI said. "Over the years, you have accompanied 484 diocesan priests to ordination and have supported, through various initiatives, the building of 57 new parish churches."
The Holy Father thanked Cardinal Ruini "for all you have done for priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, lay groups and all the people of God in the diocese of Rome", and he notes how the diocese "has grown in communion and in an awareness of the urgency of the mission".
âI must express my personal recognition for the dedication with which, over these years, you introduced me into the complex realities of this beloved Church," wrote the Pope.
Perhaps recalling the debacle when a speech by Pope Benedict was canceled at La Sapienza University due to faculty and student protests, the Holy Father said, "Thank you for having backed my call for a serious commitment to education and for having, on numerous occasions, brought so many faithful to St. Peter's Square to listen to, support and encourage the ministry of the Roman Pontiff."
Benedict XVI concluded his Letter by telling Cardinal Ruini - who from 1991 to 2007 was also president of the Italian Episcopal Conference - that "in all these circumstances you have shown exemplary faithfulness to your episcopal motto 'Veritas liberabit nos.' In name of this Truth, which is Christ Himself, you continually dedicated your energies for the sake of the People of God who are in Rome."