While Saturday is certainly the big day, the ‘Ordinary Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals’ is in actuality a four-day event starting tomorrow morning. As a prelude to the creation of the new princes of the Church, the Holy Father has invited them, and the entire College of Cardinals, to spend the day in reflection and prayer. And the topic of that reflection and prayer will be the new evangelisation. The website of the Archdiocese of Utrecht informs us that Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, will be looking ahead to the Year of Faith as part of the day’s main subject.
Red Saturday will start at 10:30 Roman time with the liturgical celebration during which the new cardinals will receive their zucchetto, biretta, cardinal’s ring and the bull by which they’ll be assigned a title church or deaconry. In the afternoon, the new cardinals will be receiving well-wishers at various locations, with Cardinal Eijk being given a spot in the Paul VI Hall.
On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will be concelebrating a Mass with the new cardinals, starting at 9:30. On behalf of the new cardinals, Cardinal Filoni will address the pope.
On Monday, then, the pope will once more meet with the new cardinals to address them and their families, friends and other pilgrims.
The texts of the various addresses and homilies will be available in due time on the Vatican website.
In the Netherlands, the consistory and the Sunday Mass may be watched live via the homepage of the RKK.
Lastly, then, one can only guess at what must be going through the head of Archbishop Eijk as he is no doubt in Rome by now. Whatever thoughts and feelings he may have, they are sure to be tempered by a touch of Dutch level-headedness, as indicated by his reply to a reporter asking about his chances of becoming pope:
“The chance of that is by now less than one percent, what with an increasing number of cardinals from new Church provinces. But well, let’s first become cardinal and then we’ll see.”