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Called to a new service

· Letter to cardinals who will be created on 14 February ·

The following is a translation of the letter Pope Francis addressed to each of the 20 cardinals who will be created in the consistory of 14 February.

Dear Brother,

Today your nomination as Cardinal of Holy Roman Church was made public. I send you my greetings along with an assurance of my prayers. I ask the Lord to accompany you in this new service, which is a service of help, support and special closeness to the person of the Pope and for the good of the Church.

The cardinalate is indeed a vocation, precisely ordered to the exercise of this dimension of service. The Lord, through the Church, calls you yet again to serve; and it will do you good to repeat in prayer the expression that Jesus himself suggested to his disciples in order to maintain humility: “Say, ‘We are unworthy servants'”, and this not as a formula of good upbringing but as truth after work, “when you have done all that is commanded you” (Lk 17:10).

Keeping oneself humble in service is not easy when one sees the cardinalate as an award, like the culmination of a career, a dignity of power or of superior distinction. Hence, your daily commitment to warding off these considerations, and especially in order to remember that being a Cardinal signifies being incardinated in the Diocese of Rome in order to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord and to give it totally, even with your blood if necessary.

Many will rejoice at your new vocation and, as good Christians, they will celebrate (for it is proper to a Christian to rejoice and to know how to celebrate). Accept it with humility. Only, do it in a way that, during these celebrations, the spirit of worldliness does not creep in, the spirit that stuns more than grappa on a fast, disorienting and separating one from the cross of Christ.

We will see each other, then, on 14 February. Prepare yourselves with prayer and a little penance. May you have great peace and joy. And, please, I ask you not to forget to pray for me.

Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.

Fraternally,

From the Vatican, 4 January 2015

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Feb. 19, 2017

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