Cardinal Wuerl Concelebrates Mass with Pope, Receives Ring

November 21, 2010

Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, concelebrated Mass with Pope Benedict XVI On Sunday, November 21 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City with the 23 other new cardinals. At the Mass, the Holy Father placed the cardinalate ring on Cardinal Wuerl’s right hand, saying, “Receive the ring from the hand of Peter, and know that with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the church is strengthened.”

The traditional gold ring has a design centered around a crucifix. The same ring has been given to cardinals for decades and symbolizes the Cardinal’s bond to the Holy Father and Universal Church. For Cardinal Wuerl, this will replace the one he has worn for the past 25 years. That ring was given to him by Cardinal John Wright, a former bishop of Pittsburgh and Vatican official for whom Cardinal Wuerl worked as a young priest. Pope Paul VI had given Cardinal Wright the ring at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

Cardinal Wuerl will serve as an advisor to the Pope and will be eligible to vote in a Papal election until his 80th birthday. More information about cardinals is online at The consistory will bring the total number of Cardinals to 203 worldwide, out of a Church of more than one billion Catholics.

On Monday, November 22, Cardinal Wuerl will celebrate Mass of Thanksgiving for the 400 participants in the consistory pilgrimage. The Mass will be held at the Altar of the Chair at St. Peter’s Basilica; the same altar where he was ordained a priest 44 years ago. Cardinal Wuerl was ordained a bishop in the basilica (at a different altar) nearly 25 years ago.

Cardinal Wuerl returns to Washington on Tuesday, November 23.

On Sunday, November 28 at noon, thousands of parishioners will join Cardinal Wuerl for his first Mass in Washington as a Cardinal at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass is open to the public and a reception will follow the Mass.

Cardinal Wuerl is the fifth Archbishop of Washington to be elevated to the College of Cardinals since the archdiocese was founded in 1939. The others were Cardinals Patrick A. O’Boyle, William W. Baum, James A. Hickey and Theodore E. McCarrick.

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