This morning, I begin my journey to Rome for the Consistory at which Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., and 16 other bishops will be elevated to the College of Cardinals. For the large group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who are making our way to Rome this week, their is a mixture of both joy and sadness as we also prepare to send forth Archbishop Tobin to begin his newly-assigned ministry as Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. But first and foremost, these next few days are days of joy as we gather to witness the new bond that he will have with our Holy Father as one of his closest circle of advisers and as a member of the body who will elect future Bishops of Rome.

The formal ceremony at with the 17 bishops will become Cardinals will be held in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Saturday morning at 11 am Rome time. At that ceremony, each new Cardinal will receive his red biretta (pictured above), a ring, and the name of his new titular church in Rome. That afternoon, there will be a reception for the three new American Cardinals at the Pontifical North American College, followed by a general open house for all new Cardinals at the Vatican, and then a celebratory dinner for Cardinal Tobin and his guests at a restaurant in the city. On Sunday, we will all gather in St. Peter’s Square with many others who have come to Rome for the closing of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica and the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. That evening, Cardinal Tobin will preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving at the mother-church of the Redemptorists, Sant’Alfonso, which houses the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Several of us are then staying in Rome for a couple extra days before heading back to the United States.

I ask your prayers for all of us making the pilgrim journey to Rome this week, and especially for Cardinal-designate Tobin and the other newly-names Cardinals, that they may have the strength, wisdom, and charity to serve the Holy Father and the Church well in their new role.

I hope to blog occasionally from Rome as time and connectivity allows. Also, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, The Criterion, will be blogging from Rome as well at this site: