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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Michael Czerny, son of immigrants, helps immigrants

Jesuit Michael Czerny is one of the new cardinals. He was born in the old Czechoslovakia, but when he was two years old his parents took him to Canada.

He is an immigrant now in charge of the dicastery for migrants.

His pectoral cross is made of the wood from a boat used by migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. It is a wooden cross, like Jesus’.

“That is how Jesus died and continues to die today. Therefore, the cross is an example of how He dies, but also of how He rises.”

The cardinal is 73 years old. He has been a Jesuit from the age of 17 and a priest from the age of 27. He was vice rector at a university in El Salvador, and he led the African Jesuit AIDS Network in Kenya.

From 1992 to 2002 he coordinated the Jesuits’ social initiatives around the world. 

“I was lucky to go to a very good Jesuit high school in Montreal. I admired the Jesuits who were teaching there. I said, I would like to live like they do, and to serve God, and to serve people. Develop my talents and see what good I could do, and so that's why I joined.”

He dreamed of becoming a professor of theology and philosophy, but God had other plans for him.

For years he has been a great supporter of Pope Francis in the protection of the environment and the search for ways to help migrants.

As cardinal, he will take those concerns to the rest of the world.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Claudia Torres