My “Titular Church”
Yesterday I took possession of my “Titular Church” in Rome, Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Monte Mario section of the city.
Every Cardinal has a Church in Rome because, originally, the Cardinal were the priests of Rome — and it is they who elect the Bishop of Rome, our Holy Father.
It was a wonderful parish celebration! The Church was packed with families for whom Our Lady of Guadalupe is a home. Afterwards, there was a wonderful luncheon in the parish hall. They made me feel like a real pastor!
Caro Don Franco Mammoli, il vero parocco; brother priests, deacons, and seminarians; beloved sisters; my new parishioners, brothers and sisters in Christ here at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish!
What a joy, what an honor, to be with you here to “take possession” of my titular church as a Cardinal!
Thank you for your welcome!
Actually, by your warm embrace, you have “taken possession” of me.
I have been a priest for thirty-six very happy years. I have been a curate in three parishes; a graduate student; a university professor; a rector of the seminary; an auxiliary bishop, an archbishop, and now a cardinal. But, until today, I have never been a pastor! Now I am, if only an honorary one, and I am so happy.
You are my people: I love you! I am proud of you! I am honored to be your titular pastor.
Most cardinals have historic churches as their titular church. I would rather have an active, normal, alive parish. And already I have come to recognize Our Lady of Guadalupe as a wonderful, dynamic community of faith.
I am also very happy that this parish is dedicated to our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the Empress of America! Her image is the most popular shrine at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City! She will keep us together.
God’s Holy Word today from the Book of Wisdom tells us that wisdom is one of God’s best gifts to us. The Bible calls wisdom “she.” We often call Our Lady “The Seat of Wisdom.”
That’s because God’s Son became incarnate in her womb. In the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we see Mary pregnant. God made flesh, “God with us,” Emmanuel, was in her womb, and as a baby sat on her lap.
She is wise because she gives us Jesus, who shows us the way, teaches us the truth, and shares with us His own life. That’s wisdom! We need Jesus! We need His Mother.
I hope to come visit often. You come see me in New York.