On the last Saturday of September, Pope Francis handed over the cardinal’s ring and cap to the Portuguese bishop, D. Américo Aguiar, in a ceremony that took place in Saint Peter’s Square.
During the celebration, the Pope read the investiture proceedings and in Latin, proclaimed the names of the cardinals, thus uniting them with“a closer bond” to their mission; This was followed by the profession of faith and the oath of fidelity and obedience by the new cardinals to the Pope and his successors.
Each of the new cardinals knelt to receive the cardinal’s cap, in accordance with the order of creation, and a ring “tostrengthen their love for the church”,followed by the attribution of a church in Rome to each cardinal – symbolising “participation in the Pope’s pastoral concerns” in the city – as well as the delivery of the cardinal creation bull, a moment sealed by an embrace of peace.
D. Américo Aguiar was created cardinal-presbyter, and received the title of Saint Anthony of Padua in Via Merulana (Sancti Antonii Patavini de Urbe) in Rome, a church which was held by the cardinal-patriarch of Lisbon, D. António Ribeiro between 1973 and 1998.
The new bishop of Setúbal thus became the seventh Portuguese cardinal of the 21st century and the fourth to be created in this current pontificate.
After the celebration, D. Américo Aguiar said to the journalists:
“When I was walking up that ramp I remembered that day, the day of the vigil, when the Pope was alone, on account of the pandemic restrictions (he prayed in St. Peter’s Square alone), and I felt as though I shared the weight of that journey. Afterwards, «In manus tuas», from the moment we surrendered ourselves into God’s hands, and that is how it happened”.
D. Américo Aguiar further wished to highlight the words of Pope Francis who asked the new cardinals to be a “sinodal and symphonic and orchestra” saying: “A northerner like me is able to adapt to any instrument, so lets make music”.
After the ceremony, the new Portuguese Cardinal presided over the celebration at the Church of Saint Anthony of the Portuguese, in Rome, saying that he would like to help Pope Francis build a “path of tenderness, for everyone, everyone, everyone. We are not bringing in a new age, because it has always been so, the gospel has always been for everyone” .
We congratulate D. Américo Aguiar, newly created Cardinal and pray for him, having already given us so much with World Youth Day, asking God to strengthen and encourage him in his renewed mission, as someone who leaves everything in God’s hands. And as his episcopal motto says – ‘In manus tuas’ (In your hands) -,the final words of Jesus on the cross.