Letter on Priests Mission
(30 May 08 - RV)
Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, has issued a message to mark the occasion, in which he emphasized the priority of prayer over action, saying the effectiveness of action depends on prayer.
The letter also calls on priests to ask forgiveness for their sins and trust ever more fully in God’s mercy, and implores all priests to be faithful in the daily celebration of Mass.
Tomorrow Cardinal McCarrick celebrates 50 years of the priesthood at the Shrine at a Mass at 5:15 pm.
A founding member of the Papal Foundation, he has served as its president since 1997. Cardinal McCarrick also is a member of the Board of Catholic Relief Services. For the Vatican, he serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.
He has visited many nations as a human rights advocate and to survey humanitarian needs. These include China, Cuba, Iran, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Rwanda and Burundi. He also has traveled extensively in Eastern Europe and Central America. In November 1996, then-Archbishop McCarrick was invited to serve on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad and from 1999-2001, he was a member of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom.
In January 2000, the President of Lebanon named him an Officer of the Order of the Cedars of Lebanon and in December 2000, the president of the United States presented him with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, just two of many honors he has received.
On January 2, 2001, he was installed as Archbishop of Washington, a position he held until May 16, 2006. Just seven weeks after his installation, on February 21, 2001, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II. He took possession of his titular church, Ss. Nereus and Achilleus, on June 28, 2001.
As Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal McCarrick served as chancellor of The Catholic University of America and president of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and placed an emphasis on education, vocations and meeting the needs of new immigrants, particularly in the Latino community.
In Fall 2001, he opened a new seminary, Redemptoris Mater, to educate diocesan missionary priests. These men will serve both in the Archdiocese of Washington and in overseas missions after ordination. In May 2006, Cardinal McCarrick dedicated a permanent home for the seminary, located in Hyattsville, Maryland. Later that month, the Cardinal ordained 12 men to the priesthood, the largest ordination class in the Archdiocese since the 1970s.
Under his guidance, the Archdiocese of Washington undertook a major capital campaign, Forward in Faith, between 2003 and 2005. The campaign, whose funds are earmarked to support education, vocations, parish and social service needs into the future, resulted in $185 million in pledges, or $50 million over the $135 million goal. Forward in Faith was one of the most successful capital campaigns in U.S. diocesan history.
Education has always been a priority for Cardinal McCarrick and is a major component of Forward in Faith. In 2004, he supported the creation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, a Federal program that gives low-income families the ability to choose a public or non-public school for their children. As a result of his leadership, Catholic schools in the District have welcomed approximately 1,000 scholarship recipients. The Cardinal also initiated plans to open a new high school, the first Archdiocesan high school to open in decades, in Fall 2007. The Cristo Rey school, in Takoma Park, Maryland, will offer a unique work-study program for students from moderate- and low-income families.
During his five years as Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal McCarrick oversaw the start of a multi-cultural and social service center in Wheaton, Maryland; the establishment of a Lay Leadership Institute in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, which will have a special focus on the Hispanic community; and the reorganization of four of the Archdiocese’s social service agencies into one organization, Catholic Community Services, which serves over 120,000 people each year.
He traveled around the world, including trips to areas affected by major natural disasters, such as Central America, Sri Lanka and Louisiana and Mississippi post-Hurricane Katrina, to ensure people in need would receive assistance, and to bring prayer and financial support.
He also continued to travel on behalf of Catholic Relief Services, and to fulfill various responsibilities for the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among many notable events, Cardinal McCarrick was one of 115 Cardinals in the world who participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI as the successor to Pope John Paul II in April 2005.
Cardinal McCarrick speaks five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
(Thanks to the old Archdiocese website for that)