Cardinal Omella: "I never dreamed of being a cardinal, I wanted to be a priest for the people"
Juan José Omella y Omella was born in Cretas, a small Spanish town with only 600 inhabitants. When he entered the Seminary of Zaragoza, his expectations were not impossible to reach; he just wanted to be the "village priest.â? However, time, and Pope Francis, have decided his path was to be cardinal. CARD. JUAN JOSÉ OMELLA Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain) "I wanted to be a priest and I always dreamed of being a village priest. I also wanted to be a missionary and I went to study with the missionaries in Africa, the Congo. I always said to myself, 'You will end up as a missionary in Africa or a priest in your homeland.'â? He was appointed bishop by John Paul II in July 1996, and appointed Archbishop of Barcelona by Pope Francis in November 2015. However, the surprise news arrived after the Angelus prayer on May 21, when the pope announced a consistory to create five new cardinals. Among those names was Monsignor Omella's. "Monsignor Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain.â? In fact, the Archbishop of Barcelona did not know that he was going to be a cardinal until later, thanks to a friend who was there in St. Peter's Square and heard the news. CARD. JUAN JOSÉ OMELLA Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain) "The pope did not call me the night before announcing it to see what I thought, but said it live to everyone. It was a bishop who was here in St. Peter's, who upon hearing my name, as we are friends, immediately called me. I was surprised, because I did not expect this news, nor did I want it.â? He assures that the news greatly affected him, and that he is willing to help Pope Francis in everything he needs. Juan Jose Omella now becomes the eighth cardinal of Barcelona. CARD. JUAN JOSÉ OMELLA Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain) "I was shocked and there was a certain shiver and fear, because I said, 'What do I do as a cardinal?' It gives you a bit of vertigo at first, but then things start to get better and you say, 'Well we will do what the Lord asks us through the pope.'â? Cardinal Omella is now the twelfth Spanish cardinal in the College of Cardinals, although out of them, only three - Cardinal Osoro, Cardinal Blázquez and Cardinal Cañizares - could vote in a possible conclave. AQ/JC MG - V -PR Up:JC