►On Thursday. June 28, 2018, Pope Francis convened an Ordinary Public Consistory at the Vatican Basilica, for the creation of 14 new cardinals, representing 11 countries in five continents.
The new cardinals, following their order of creation, knelt before the Holy Father, who imposed upon them the cardinals’ zucchetto and the berretta, consigned the ring and assigned to each one a church of Rome as a sign of participation in the Pope’s pastoral care for the city.
The celebration began with the greeting, prayer and reading of a passage from the Gospel according to Mark (10: 32-45).
Pope Francis’ Exhortation
►In his homily, Francis told the new cardinals the best promotion a person can receive is to serve the person of Christ as seen in the least of his people. AngelusNews.com was there at the consistory and reports: “This is the highest honor that we can receive, the greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God’s faithful people.”
Speaking to the new and to the existing cardinals, he said credible authority stems from “sitting at the feet of others,” serving those “who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering, addicted to drugs, cast aside… real people, each with his or her own life story and experiences, hopes and disappointments, hurts and wounds.”
“None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone,” he continued. “None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.”
The pope reflected on a passage from the Gospel of Mark, which recalls when the disciples were walking on the road to Jerusalem, and Christ, walking ahead of them, made his third announcement of his impending passion and death.
In recalling this event, St. Mark, he noted, “does not shrink from disclosing secrets present in the hearts of the disciples: their quest of honors, jealousy, envy, intrigue, accommodation and compromise.”
Yet Christ does not worry about this, Francis said. He keeps walking, telling the disciples forcefully: “But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
The pope repeated: “‘But it shall not be so among you.’ The Lord’s response is above all an encouragement and a challenge to his disciples to recoup their better part, lest their hearts be spoiled and imprisoned by a worldly mentality blind to what is really important.”
“What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are corroded within? What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission?”
Christ teaches that conversion, change of heart, and reform of the Church should be carried out in the light of mission, he continued, pointing out the need to forget one’s own interests for the sake of upholding the Father’s – the dignity of every person.
He urged the cardinals to strive to always be ready to accompany and embrace their distressed brothers and sisters, and to avoid “useless wrangling about who is most important.”
“Only in this way, can the authority of the Shepherd have the flavor of the Gospel and not appear as ‘a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal’,” he said.#
Reading the Papal Bull
The Holy Father then read the formula for the creation of cardinals and solemnly pronounced the names of the new cardinals, announcing the presbyteral or diaconal order. The rite continued with the profession of faith of the new cardinals before the people of God and the oath of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors.
After the consignment of the Bull of the creation of cardinals and the assignment of the title or diaconate, the Holy Father Francis exchanged an embrace of peace with each new cardinal.
Among the 14 New Cardinals is Osaka Archbishop Manyo Maeda
►Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka is currently the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ).
Born March 3, 1949, in Tsuwasaki, Kami-Goto, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Nagasaki in 1975. Over the years, he served as a parish priest, editor of the diocesan bulletin and directed the diocese’s commission for social communications.
He served as secretary general of bishops’ conference from 2006 until 2011, when he was made bishop of Hiroshima. Pope Francis appointed him to lead the Archdiocese of Osaka in 2014.
As a native of Nagasaki, Bishop Maeda was widely involved in the peace movement in Hiroshima. He also worked for the beatification of “hidden Christians” who had been exiled to Tsuwano in present-day Shimane prefecture, part of Hiroshima Diocese. In the final outbreak of anti-Christian persecution in Japan 150 years ago, some 3,400 Christians from Nagasaki were exiled to various places throughout the country.
After Pope Francis announced his list of new cardinals in Rome on May 20, Archbishop Maeda was deluged by emails from congregants who had heard the news. The prelate told UCANews.com: “I myself did not know about the announcement at all and I had no contact in advance. Personally, I don’t think I’m the most suitable person to be a cardinal, so I still find it hard to believe.”
A Fisherman – Like the Apostles
►Archbishop Maeda can be called a legitimate successor to the Apostles who were fishermen. When he was a parish priest, he frequently went fishing in his own boat and carried the sort of colorful flag that Japanese fishermen raise when they net a large catch.
For many years, he has also been involved with people with disabilities, while as a member of the CBCJ, he has been on its committees for education and ecumenism.
Like Blessed Takayama, Cardinal Maeda Is a Haiku Poet
►The new cardinal is also a master of the short Japanese poetic form called “haiku” and his poems often appear in his sermons and articles.
Archbishop Maeda wrote a haiku – for the Beatification Ceremony of Blessed Takayama on Feb. 7, 2017:
「冬の虹 仰ぎて行くや 右近祭」
It reads: “Fuyu no niji Aogite ikuya Ukon-sai”
It means: “Rainbow of winter,
Let us go and look up to,
Singular Significance of Blessed Takayama – to Both Japan and the Philippines – According to Cardinal Maeda
►“During the Sengoku Period (戦国時代 Sengoku Jidai, “Age of Warring States”; c1467-1603) — that is, the period associated with the hegemons who united Japan: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, there lived a feudal chief who led a life imbued with the conviction that “Jesus was Lord,” and who sought to build a Kingdom of God, a kingdom abounding in love. That was Takayama Ukon.
“Ah, what peace Ukon has found in Christ the Lord!”
►What manner of life did Justo Takayama seek to follow? “Despite being the Son of God, Christ humbled himself to be born as a man, he emphatized with mankind, and he partook of human joys and sorrows to the moment of death.” This was the life led by Jesus who died on the Cross, and it was a life that Justo Ukon Takayama sought to emulate. In other words, the path he chose was that of a true king, a king who sought to unite Heaven and Earth, mankind and God, by means of the Cross. As a result, he was also intensely engaged in the performance of many acts of mercy.
“The Beatification of Ukon who chose a Crucifix in place of a Sword.”
►Ukon was not a priest, and yet, besides churches he built theologates and seminaries, and he was a zealous participant in catechism, contemplation, devotional works, Holy Mass, sacraments and other related activities. As well as the Church in Japan, where calls now are being made for the provision of innovative forms of Gospel transmission, let us reflect over and pray for a revival of the work Ukon did to spread the Gospel, starting with the Philippines with which he enjoyed a special kinship, and extending over the entire world.
“The Blessings of Ukon’s Beatification Unite Japan and the Philippines”
►In conjunction with the construction of the Osakajo of Hideyoshi, Ukon erected churches in Osaka for a fresh communcation of the Gospel. In the same way, let us in conjunction with the Beaitification of Justo Takayama, begin now this fresh communication of the Gospel.
“Let us begin by emulating the compassion of Ukon.”
The College of Cardinals Now Has 226 Members
►Archbishop Maeda is the sixth Japanese to be named a cardinal, but unlike his predecessors, he has not been active in international matters.
With Thursday’s ceremony, there are now 226 cardinals worldwide, 74 of them named by Francis during his five-year-old papacy.
Of that total, 125 cardinals are younger than 80 and can vote in a conclave for the next pope when the current pope dies or resigns: 59 of them appointed by Francis, 47 by Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, and 19 named by Pope John Paul II.
Three of those named Thursday are too old to participate in selecting the next pope.
The Challenge Ahead — For the College of Cardinals
►At a post-ceremony reception, Pope Francis asked which pressing questions churchmen should urgently address.
The new cardinals shared with the Associated Press (AP) that the “social exclusion” of migrants is an issue “all must address.” Francis recently has appealed to all nations to be more welcoming to the refugees they can adequately integrate into society.
The new Cardinal from Peru, Huancayo Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno, cited the need to fight corruption worldwide. Francis has made battling corruption inside the church also one of his papacy’s priorities.
After the ceremony, the pope and the new cardinals took minivans to the monastery on Vatican City grounds where Benedict XVI, who retired from the papacy in 2013, lives.
Courtesy Call on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
►The cardinals each went up to greet the frail 91-year-old Benedict, who was sitting in a chair, taking his hand and briefly chatting with the emeritus pontiff.
Addressing his “dear brother cardinals and new cardinals,” the pope said the “only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ.”
Osaka Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyō Cardinal Maeda has been designated Cardinal-Priest of Santa Pudenziana. The Basilica of Santa Pudenziana (Santa Potenciana) serves as the national church for the Filipino community of Rome. A happy coincidence?#
Compiled by Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro