"I am very happy to welcome you again today, in this simple family gathering and to greet the new cardinals, their families and friends and all those who accompany them, on this solemn and and important occasion.”
The gathering was short, but moving. Outside the Vatican's Paul VI hall, the new cardinals described their experience.
CARD. JOHN OLORUNFEMI ONAIYEKAN
Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria)
"It's a long occasion and event to give thanks to God. I am not afraid, although the challenges are high. I am not afraid because I've learned in my many years, that the Church and that God will never send us anywhere if we are not accompanied by His grace. So I am good and happy and confident with God's grace."
CARD. BASELIOS CLEEMIS THOTTUNKAL
Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Church (India)
"This is a new mission for us, for the Church in India, for the Syro-Malankara Church, but again it is reconfirmed with the presence of so many people from different parts of the world. That the Church is one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.”
CARD. BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAÏ
Maronite Patriarch (Lebanon)
"This gesture of the Holy Father stressed the importance of Christians in Lebanon and in the Middle East. So after my appointment by the Holy Father, I've lived these days full of joy. Strengthened by God's grace, I've seen growing confidence in my mission and the challenges we face in the Middle East.”
Colombia's new Cardinal, Ruben Salazar, took the opportunity to reflect on the future of his country, especially in eradicating the violence.
CARD. RUBEN SALAZAR
Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia)
"Every single Colombian is always in my prayers. I'm convinced that God will bless us with peace. I'm hoping that the negotiations taking place right now between the government and FARC rebels will put an end to the conflicts. Then, all Colombians will be able to work towards a country where no one is excluded or marginalized. A country where we can all work for the good of others.”
From the Philippines, 55 year old Cardinal Tagle from Manila got to enjoy the moment along with both his parents.
CARD. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE
Archbishop of Manila (Philippines)
"It's a grace. Some of the cardinals approached me and told me that their parents are no longer here. It's a blessing that my parents are both healthy and my brother is here too. Many of my relatives witnessed the event. It's not only a blessing for me and my family, but for the Church in Manila and the Church in the Philippines. We also know that it's a calling to wake up to the calling of our mission.”
Now these six princes of the Church, will head back home, as cardinals and as collaborators of the Pope.