Having been given the red hat, a sign of the willingness to die for the faith and the Pope, and a ring, symbolising the cardinal’s closeness to the Successor of Peter, the taking possession of a church in Rome marks Cardinal Roche’s incardination into the Diocese of Rome as one of her priests. The Cardinal himself has described this as ‘a solemn act’. He took possession of his Titular Church, the Basilica of San Saba, on Sunday, 4 December, the Second Sunday of Advent. Pope John XXIII established the church, which dates from the tenth century, as a Cardinal deaconry in 1959, and Cardinal Roche is the sixth cardinal deacon since then. He succeeds Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez, who died in 2021.
After the event Cardinal Roche said:
‘It was a remarkable occasion as apart from the liturgy in the morning I had a long meeting with all the pastoral workers of the parish – over 100 of them – who were involved in a multitude of charitable activities and spiritual and catechetical enterprises that left me deeply impressed and amazed, not least the amount of good work they were doing with immigrants, homeless, Ukrainian refugees, handicapped and special needs categories, and their care of the young and the old. The parish is truly buzzing with evangelical zeal. I feel very privileged to be so closely associated with it and will take a very active part in ministry there.’
One of the deacons at the Mass was Rev Paul Moores from the Diocese of Leeds, currently completing his studies for the priesthood at the Beda College in Rome. He will be ordained in July 2023.
Courtesy of photography by Alessia Giuliani and Daniel Ibanez, we now have some images from the Eucharistic Celebration at the Basilica on Sunday 4 December.