A short bit of footage without much sound (to be found at the end of this post), courtesy of RKK, and a report on the Archdiocesan website are among the few news items concerning Cardinal Eijk’s taking possession of his title church in Rome, Last Thursday. There is also a photo report available here.
The small church of San Callisto was completely filled and the congregation included a large number of journalists. Cardinal Eijk called his reception “heartwarming”. Assistant Papal master of cermeonies Msgr. Konrad Krajewski presented and read out the papal bull granting the title church to Cardinal Eijk at the start of Mass. It was subsequently signed afterwards. The arrival of its new cardinal protector, prompted the caretakers of the San Callisto to install a new altar and refurbish the throne. In his homily, Cardinal Eijk spoke about Pope Saint Callistus I, to whom the church is dedicated. He called it:
“a magnificent place. The church lies in Trastevere, the beating heart of Rome the old city centre. But also because of the fact that Pope Callistus died a martyr’s death here – the well [in which he was thrown to his death – ed.] lies here in the church underneath the altar. So it is really a historical place. I consider Callistus an inspiring figure; in the lives of the saints there are parallels with our own lives, there are always things in their lives which can encourage you in your faith.”
Last week, I tried to predict which title churches and deaconries the new cardinals would be getting. While much was guesswork, I did succeed in making a few reasonable guesses: Sant’ Atanasio might go to Cardinal Muresan or Cardinal Alencherry; Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario to Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal Collins; San Gioacchino ai Prati di Castello to Cardinal Eijk; San Bernardo alle Terme to Cardinal Alencherry; San Giuseppe all’ Aurelio to Cardinal Woelki; San Gerardo Maiella to Cardinal Duka; Santissimo Redentore e Sant’ Alfonso in Via Merulana to Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal Collins; Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio to Cardinal Ries. I also suggested to San Patrizio would remain vacant and that San Teodoro would go to a cardinal with some link with the Orthodox Churches.
Well, in the end I guessed right three times: Cardinal Allencherry did get San Bernardo alle Terme, Cardinal Dolan got Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario, Cardinal Muresan got Sant’ Atanasio.
Here is the full list of new cardinals with their title churches and deaconries
Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Cardinal-deacon of Nostra Signora di Coromoto in San Giovanni di Dio
Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro, Cardinal-deacon of San Domenico di Guzman
Santos Cardinal Abril y Castellò, Cardinal-deacon of San Ponziano
Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò, Cardinal-deacon of San Cesareo in Palatio
Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, Cardinal-deacon of Santi Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia
Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Cardinal-deacon of San Giuseppe del Falegnami
João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Cardinal-deacon of Sant’ Elena fuori Porta Prenestina
Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien, Cardinal-deacon of San Sebastiano al Palatino
Domenico Cardinal Calcagno, Cardinal-deacon of Santissima Annunciazione della Beata Vergine Maria a Via Ardeatina
Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi, Cardinal-deacon of Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio
George Cardinal Alencherry, Cardinal-priest of San Bernardo alle Terme
Thomas Christopher Cardinal Collins, Cardinal-priest of San Patrizio
Dominik Cardinal Duka, Cardinal-priest of Santi Marcellino e Pietro
Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk, Cardinal-priest of San Callisto
Giuseppe Cardinal Betori, Cardinal-priest of San Marcello
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal-priest of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario
Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Cardinal-priest of San Giovanni Maria Vianney
John Cardinal Tong Hon, Cardinal-priest of Regina Apostolorum
Lucian Cardinal Muresan, Cardinal-priest of Sant’ Atanasio
Julien Cardinal Ries, Cardinal-deacon of San Antonio de Padova a Circonvallazione Appia
Prosper Cardinal Grech, Cardinal-deacon of Santa Maria Goretti
Karl Josef Cardinal Becker, Cardinal-deacon of San Giuliano Martire
As you will have noticed when comparing this list to the one in my previous post, there are five new deaconries and one new title church on the list. The Holy Father is free to create and abolish such churches as he sees fit, of course, but it’s interesting to wonder why some titles remain vacant as new ones are created.
Cardinal Eijk’s title church is San Callisto, located in Trastevere. The church itself dates from the 17th century, although there has been a church dedicated to Saint Pope Callistus I since the 8th century. The holy pope himself reigned in the 3rd century and was martyred and buried on the site where his church now stands. As cardinal-priest of this church, Cardinal Eijk succeeds Corrado Cardinal Ursi, the former archbishop of Naples who died in 2003. The later Popes Pius VII (pope from 1800 to 1823) and Gregory XVI (1831 to 1846) also held this title church.
It is a fairly small church, as Roman churches go, with a single aisle and chapels on either side.
In essence, a cardinal will have little to do with his title church or deaconry, although some are tasked with the financial upkeep of their assigned church or deaconry. All such churches, though, will prominently feature the coat of arms of their cardinal-protector on the facade.