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CARDINALS-DINARDO Nov-27-2007 (370 words) xxxi

New U.S. cardinal calls on flock to be energetic disciples like Mary

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- Celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving in his "favorite church in Rome," Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston asked his family, friends and flock to be energetic disciples like Mary was.

The congregation burst into applause when Cardinal DiNardo told them that, when he greeted Pope Benedict XVI after a Nov. 26 audience at the Vatican, the pope said "Texas needs a cardinal."

Joined by his brother and sister, friends from Pennsylvania and Ohio, and hundreds of pilgrims from Texas, the cardinal celebrated Mass Nov. 27 in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, which he said was "my favorite church in Rome since the day I walked in here in 1972 as a first-year student at the (Pontifical) North American College," the U.S. seminary in Rome.

Cardinal DiNardo said the basilica is a place where one is overwhelmed by beauty and serenity, rather than by majesty and space. It is the beauty of the story of God becoming human in Jesus Christ when Mary said yes, he said.

In the Gospel of Luke, he said, "everyone is always on a journey and traveling," beginning with Mary who goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, almost immediately after the angel Gabriel proclaims she will give birth to Jesus.

"Everything about the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke is dynamic. There are people who have said that somehow the Virgin Mary is passive. You could never get that from the Gospel. There is always energetic acceptance" of God's will in her life and her action, he said.

"Mary is our queen and our mother," Cardinal DiNardo said. "She is the energy of the church. I beg you to stay close to her as she keeps pushing us in her Magnificat to magnify the Lord and to do his will."

Cardinal DiNardo and his group were welcomed to the basilica by Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the former archbishop of Boston who serves as archpriest of St. Mary Major. In addition to offering his prayers for Cardinal DiNardo, he also asked the congregation to pray for the success of the Middle East peace conference taking place in Annapolis, Md.


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