Yesterday, my family and I attended the Mass of Thanksgiving for Archbishop Donald Wuerl’s elevation to Cardinal. Crowds of Washingtonians showed up at the Shrine to congratulate our Archbishop. I think that some of the ushers were having a rough time. As I tried to find a good spot, one guy informed my mother that “this shouldn’t be here,” referring to my wheelchair (and me in it?). I immediately shot back 2x, “I’m a person.” He heard me loud and clear. But anyway, all this is for another post.
The Archbishop of Washington now wears a red hat and can elect or be elected as Pope. Not only that, he is now considered an advisor to the Pope. In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl told us that Pope Benedict personally gave his blessing to the whole Archdiocese, the whole local Church of Washington, when he made him a cardinal. “The word cardinal means hinge,” the Cardinal said, humbly reminding us that he is our direct link with the Pope, the Successor of Peter, through Apostolic Succession and now having been made a cardinal.
I believe that bishops are as the symbolic lamp stands referred to in Revelation 1-2. The bishop manifests the Light of Christ the Good Shepherd in serving a local Church even to the point of laying his life down: this is why the Archdiocese of Washington celebrates with the Cardinal! I was glad to have been to that Mass on Sunday. It was important for me because I remember how our Cardinal Archbishop spoke to me with great kindness at my 2nd cousin’s Confirmation (I was his sponsor) two years ago: he came up to me after Mass, smiled at me like a father to son, and said, “it was good to be with you.”