Monday, November 26, 2007

The Week Winds Down

After four days of nonstop prayer and pranzi, the pilgrims are quickly approaching the end of the tunnel... or, at least, the tunnels at Fiumicino that'll see 'em to their planes.

This morning, Pope Benedict will receive a group audience of the new cardinals and their pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall. Following his remarks in multiple languages and blessing to the crowd of 6,000-plus, each of the freshmen will be able to bring a small handful of family members and close friends to meet the pontiff. The occasion marks the final "official" function of the consistory, and the last time this weekend's intake will gather as a group.

From there, the pilgrims will begin to trickle out of Rome, while some cheering sections still have another day or two of events on-deck. Later today, Cardinal Foley will offer a 5pm Mass of Thanksgiving in St Mary Major, followed by Cardinal DiNardo at mid-morning tomorrow. On Tuesday evening, Philly's Eminence will be take possession of S. Sebastiano al Palatino, the Roman church symbolically entrusted to his care.

In the days to come, the cardinals' final initiation into their new role will come with the release of their assignments to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

While its membership's activity on the various congregations and councils is the college's primary locus of participation in the universal governance of the church, the appointment list will be closely analyzed to glean the specific aspects of church life where Benedict wants his new "senators" to wield their clout.

PHOTO: AP/Pier Paolo Cito