Local Bulletins, Vatican

Pope to 21 new Cardinals: Work for ‘an ever more symphonic and synodal Church’

In his homily during the Consistory for the creation of 21 new Cardinals, Pope Francis reflects on unity and diversity in the Church, highlighting the importance of synodality under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the “master of walking together.”

By Lisa Zengarini

“The College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, representing the harmony and synodality of the Church.” Pope Francis made this remark as he presided on Saturday at the Consistory for the creation of 21 Cardinals in St. Peter’s Square.
Diversity in one Catholic Church
In his homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members (including 19 archbishops and bishops, and two priests), the Pope reflected on the reading from the Acts on the story of the Pentecost, in which the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and experienced the gift of tongues as they preached the Gospel to Jews of different nationalities in Jerusalem (Acts 2, 1-11).
The gift of being evangelized in our own language
He drew attention to the similarity between all those Jews of different nationalities and languages who heard the Apostles preaching to them and the Bishops and Cardinals of our time hailing “from all parts of the world, from the most diverse nations”.
Seen in this perspective, Pope Francis noted, that the story of the Pentecost should make us “think back with gratitude on the gift of having been evangelized and having been drawn from various peoples who, each in their own time received the Kerygma, the proclamation of the mystery of salvation, and in welcoming it, were baptized in the Holy Spirit and became part of the Church” who “speaks all languages, is One and is Catholic.”
He therefore pointed out that before being “apostles”, before being priests, Bishops, Cardinals, pastors should remember that they are “Parthians, Medes, Elamites etc” like those Jews, and should be grateful for having received the grace of the Gospel among their respective peoples of origin and in their own language, through their grandparents and parents, catechists, priests, and religious.
“In the ‘flesh’ of our people, the Holy Spirit has worked the wonder of communicating the mystery of Jesus Christ who died and rose again. And this came to us ‘in our language’ (…). The faith is transmitted ‘in dialect’ by mothers and grandmothers.”
Evangelized evangelizers, not functionaries
“Indeed – the Pope said – we are evangelizers to the extent we cherish in our hearts the wonder and gratitude of having been evangelized, even of being evangelized, because this is really a gift always present, that must be continually renewed in our memories and in faith, because, he emphasized, “We are evangelized evangelizers, non-functionaries”
Remarking that “the Pentecost is not a thing of the past”, but” a creative act that God continually renews”, and that “the Church, and every baptized member, lives the today of God, through the action of the Holy Spirit”, Pope Francis reminded the Cardinals receiving the biretta today that their new role renews in them their “vocation and mission in and for the Church”.
Working for an ever more symphonic and synodal Church
He clarified this mission with the image of the orchestra which embodies simultaneous diversity and unity “representing the harmony and synodality of the Church”.
“Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable. However, each sound must contribute to the common design. This is why mutual listening is essential”, the Pope said, adding that the conductor of the orchestra is called to help “each person and the whole orchestra develop the greatest creative fidelity”.
Hence the call to the College of Cardinals to work for “an ever more symphonic and synodal Church” confiding in the Holy Spirit who “creates variety and unity and “is harmony itself.”
“We entrust ourselves to his gentle and strong guidance, and to the gracious care of the Virgin Mary,” Pope Francis concluded.

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