What a great day it has been for the Church in Rome! This morning, I was among the many people privileged to witness Pope Francis create 17 new Cardinals, including Joseph Cardinal Tobin, CSsR, who has served as Archbishop of Indianapolis for the past four years. There was great joy to be able to be in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Consistory, especially to share it both with friends and colleagues from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and pilgrims and guests from around the world – including an exuberant contingent from Africa, home continent of two of the new Cardinals. Being a Cardinal means that a bishop’s service extends beyond his diocese or Vatican office to the universal Church – in advising the Holy Father and voting in future papal conclaves. To be in the midst of such a visible representation of the universal Church is one of the most memorable parts of days like today.

During the Consistory, each of the new Cardinals received a red biretta – signifying his willingness to preserve and protect the faith even to the point of shedding blood; a ring – a visible link to the one who placed the ring on his finger, the Holy Father; and a church in Rome that he is something of an honorary pastor or patron of. Cardinal Tobin has been assigned the titular Cardinal of the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie al Trionfale. I’ve never been to this church – it’s a newer parish church located just outside the walls of Vatican City, near the entrance to the Vatican Museums. In English, the title of the church would be Our Lady of Grace – a beautiful connection to the Benedictine Sisters who monastery in Indianapolis also bears that name. I hope to visit this church in the coming days while here in Rome.

Following the Consistory, a reception was held at the Pontifical North American College for the three new Cardinals from the United States, and now many in our group are resting for a bit before heading out to a celebratory dinner with Cardinal Tobin this evening.

Know that all of us here in Rome have been keeping in our prayers and hearts the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as well as other family and friends – those who are following the events in Rome from afar can be assured of their presence in spirit these days.