Well-wishers endure long flights, long lines to see their new cardinals

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

Balancing a cup in one hand and a small sandwich over the plastic
plate on her lap while a grandchild played on the floor next to her
wheelchair, Marie Terese Tobin beamed with joy for all the gifts God
has given her.

“Now I know why I
lasted this long,” said the nonagenarian, to see the eldest of
her 13 children be made a cardinal. “It’s the frosting on the
cake,” she said, smiling.

Her son, Cardinal Joseph
W. Tobin, was one of 17 men from 14 countries to be inducted into the
College of Cardinals by Pope Francis during a ceremony in St. Peter’s
Basilica Nov. 19.

“Have you got all
day?” she laughed when asked what makes Cardinal Tobin special.
“I can’t tell you how much he loves his family,” keeping in
touch with siblings and their children, knowing what each and every
one of them is up to.

This is what makes him a
real pastor — that “ability to have a really intimate
relationship with everyone,” she told Catholic News Service at a
reception for the three new U.S. cardinals at the Pontifical North
American College.

The cardinal’s humility
also means “he doesn’t realize the impact he has on people,”
said the “baby” of the family, his sister, Sara Broderick,
who lives near her mother in Stoney Pointe, Ontario.

Becoming a cardinal “won’t
go to his head. Joe will still be Joe. He will still care about what
the kids are doing in sports,” she said.

Family, friends and
supporters, including government officials, attended the solemn
ceremony in St. Peter’s as well as the receptions that followed.

Hundreds of people from
around the world, many of them coping with jet lag from long flights,
stood patiently in line waiting for their turn to greet, get a
picture with or receive a blessing from their new cardinal in the
Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall.

With restoration work
underway, none of the receptions were held this year in the ornate
frescoed halls of the Apostolic Palace. In the audience hall, the
mood was happy but very subdued compared to other years when groups
would sometime break the din with loud singing or dancing.

Cardinals added some
personal touches to the “station” where they received
guests. Some chose their nation’s flag, but Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
of Chicago had the Chicago Cubs Win banner — a giant blue W — to
mark his city’s recent World Series victory.

Chicago’s fire
commissioner, Jose
Santiago, and police superintendent, Eddie
Johnson, traveled to Rome as part of a
government delegation that included Mayor Rahm

The public officials said
they came because of the fruitful working relationship Cardinal
Cupich has built up with them.

Seeing the city’s
archbishop elevated to cardinal “gives the city hope to be
better,” inspiring people to recognize and take “the path
of success,” Johnson said.

He said Cardinal Cupich
“jumped in with both feet to help” each time they met to
discuss the many challenges law enforcement faces. “He’s been
very supportive in our efforts to get into neighborhoods” and
reduce violence.

“It’s important to
come together as a city to support him because if he succeeds, we
succeed,” Johnson said.

Catholic leaders are
critical in bringing peace and unity to their communities,
particularly when the pope honors them with a red cardinal’s hat,
said a number of pilgrims from Papua New Guinea.

The nation’s islands are
home to hundreds of ethnic groups, who have been experiencing
conflict, said a priest who gave his name only as Father Japhet.

Many of the 45 people who
traveled 23 hours from the South Pacific to see the archbishop of
Port Moresby become Cardinal John Ribat belong to different ethnic
groups, he said.

“Every parish built a
small Holy Door, and people came and agreed to promise to reconcile,
to heal and come together” to promote a message of mercy, the
53-year-old priest said.

Jean Betrand Goumba, who
lives in Rome but is from Central African Republic, said he
hopes the new cardinals and all Catholics “take a lesson from
Pope Francis, who is doing so much for the whole world. He’s giving a
big example” of what love is, “something that is missing in
the world.”

The historic gesture the
pope made in Bangui, the nation’s capital, by opening the Year of
Mercy there was highlighted by many women who made colorful dresses
depicting the pope’s face and commemorating his visit.

Many people attending the
consistory also were planning to attend the closing of the
Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 20, including a number of U.S.
parish choirs invited to sing with the Sistine Chapel choir
at both events.

Karen and Gary McLand, who
traveled with the choir of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in
Plymouth, Michigan, said the Year of Mercy has brought them closer to
the faith as a result of joining a parish study group.

Being with others “who
want to deepen their faith inspires you” to do so, too, Gary

“I wouldn’t ever have
come here to Rome on a pilgrimage,” Karen said, if it hadn’t
been for the faith formation group.

Rebecca Padley, who was
with the choir of St.
John Cantius in Chicago, said the Year of
Mercy has helped her see people differently.

“We always ask for
things, but then we are tested,” which, she said, pushes her to
try to be even more understanding.

As a doctor, “I take
care of patients every day, but now I try to do it (be merciful) even

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Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.

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