VATICAN CITY (CNS): Presiding over the largest consistory in history, Pope John Paul II created 44 new cardinals and asked them to “shine in wisdom and holiness” as they guide the Church around the world.
During the ceremony in St Peter’s Square on February 21, the Pope said that, in elevating the new cardinals, the Church was not celebrating earthly power but a sense of service and humility.
“Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant,” the Pope said at the start of his sermon, quoting Christ’s words to his apostles.
The new cardinals included the heads of major archdioceses, Vatican officials, eminent theologians and a long-time personal friend of the pontiff, as well as several Church leaders who were persecuted or hindered by authorities during their pastoral careers.
They came from 27 countries and five continents – a geographical mix that the Pope said highlighted the Church’s global presence in the 21st century.