By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis offered greetings to Cardinal Angelo Sodano on Thursday morning, following a Mass celebrated in honour of the Cardinal’s 90th birthday.
In off-the-cuff remarks, the Holy Father said we should always give thanks to God for the gifts we have received – but this duty of thanksgiving is felt more strongly on significant anniversaries.
Pope Francis said that although everyone’s life is different, it is always God Who is leading us “by the hand.” This, he said, “is the gift we have received, and we give the gift of the witness of a life.”
In Cardinal Sodano, the Pope said, we see “the testimony of a man who has done so much for the Church, in different situations, with joy and with tears.” But, he continued, “the testimony that today seems to me perhaps the greatest that he gives us is that of an ecclesially disciplined man, and this is a grace for which I thank you, Cardinal.”
The Mass for Cardinal Sodano was celebrated in the Pauline chapel in the Apostolic Palace. Cardinal Sodano, whose birthday was November 23, served the Church as Secretary of State from 1991-2006. He is currently Dean of the College of Cardinals.