"Receive the Ring...."
The highlight of today's Mass is, of course, the pontiff's conferral of the cardinal's ring on each of the college's new members. Shown above, the modernist design depicts the crucifixion, with the Madonna and St John portrayed at the foot of the Cross; in days past, the cardinal's ring was set with a sapphire, the coat of arms of the Pope who gave it engraved on the inverse of the band.
As each approaches the Pope, B16 will slip the band on the fourth finger of the cardinal's right hand, saying (in Latin), “Receive the ring from the hand of Peter and, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, may your love to the Church be reinforced.”
When the pontiff created his first batch of cardinals in March 2006, he spoke of the ring in these terms:
The ring is always a nuptial sign. Almost all of you have already received one, on the day of your episcopal ordination, as an expression of your fidelity and your commitment to watch over the holy Church, the bride of Christ.PHOTO: David Ryan/Boston Globe
The ring which I confer upon you today, proper to the cardinalatial dignity, is intended to confirm and strengthen that commitment, arising once more from a nuptial gift, a reminder to you that first and foremost you are intimately united with Christ so as to accomplish your mission as bridegrooms of the Church. May your acceptance of the ring be for you a renewal of your "yes", your "here I am", addressed both to the Lord Jesus who chose you and constituted you, and to his holy Church, which you are called to serve with the love of a spouse.