Vatican City, Oct 20, 2003 / 22:00 pm
Pope John Paul II told the Church's new cardinals that he counts on them for their faithful collaboration and their prayers. Thirty-one bishops became cardinals this morning during the Ninth Consistory in St. Peter's Square.
The Consistory, which is held as a public Liturgy of the Word, is the ceremony where the Pope proclaims the names new cardinals, confers to them their red caps and bestows a blessing upon them. Only 30 of the cardinals were present - one is "in pectore." "The Successor of the Fisherman of Galilee counts on your faithful collaboration," said the ailing pope. "He asks you to accompany him in prayer."
In his message, the 83-year-old pontiff said it is necessary for them to preach with words and examples. He noted that the new cardinals reflect multiple races and cultures, representing the unity and universality of the Church.
"The red in the cardinal's garments evokes the color of blood and recalls the heroism of the martyrs," he told the cardinals. "It is a symbol of a love for Jesus and his Church that knows no limits: love even up to the sacrifice of one's life. Big is the gift that has been given you, but bigger still is the responsibility that it requires.