February 15, 2011.
Every time the Pope names a new cardinal, he asks him to care for a parish in Rome. This is to strengthen unity with the cardinals who live outside the Italian capital. A good example is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.Card. Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige
Archbishop of Colombo (Sri Lanka)“It's a way of strengthening ties with the Church of Rome. Since the Pope is the bishop of Rome, with this title I become a member of the clergy of Rome.”
He is now in charge of Rome's church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, because Saint Lorenzo is also the patron of his diocese.
The inauguration is a very solemn ceremony that begins at the front door of the church where the pastor receives the Cardinal and gives him a crucifix to kiss.
He is then accompanied into the parish and shown the sacristy, where the two prepare for Mass.
During the ceremony, one of the Pope's notaries reads the papal bull in Latin with which Benedict XVI asks the new cardinal to take care of this church. From then on he becomes part of the Roman clergy. An appointment with great spiritual and symbolic value.Card. Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige
Archbishop of Colombo (Sri Lanka)“Every time there was a conclave, the priests of Rome were the ones who elected the Pope. Which makes this an historic symbol.”
After the Mass, the cardinal returns to the sacristy where the official document of the ceremony is read and asks Catholics in the parish to sign as witnesses.
It's a familiar but important ceremony, after which many came to Cardinal Ranjith to welcome him to their parish and begin to confide in him.