Cardinal McElroy celebrates Mass of Thanksgiving in Rome

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA


Cardinal Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, celebrates Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Rome Aug. 28, 2022. / Hannah Brockhaus/CNA. See CNA article for full slideshow.

Rome, Italy, Aug 28, 2022 / 12:26 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Robert McElroy spoke about Christian humility Sunday, at his first public Mass since he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis.

The Aug. 28 Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, the American Catholic parish in Rome, Italy. McElroy, 68, is the bishop of San Diego.

“Many people have the wrong notion of what Christian humility is,” McElroy said in his homily. “Humility is not putting ourselves down, it’s not underestimating ourselves, it’s not presenting ourselves as less than we are.”

Christian humility means two things, he said, “Putting aside the pretenses and facades we often put up to try to look better to others than we are. And secondly: challenging, facing, the impulse all of us have to place our own interests ahead of those of others.”

Sunday’s Mass was attended by US Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly and his wife, Jill Donnelly.

American Cardinals Roger Mahony, Wilton Gregory, Joseph Tobin, Blase Cupich, Edwin O’Brien, and Daniel DiNardo concelebrated the Mass alongside seven US bishops and around 40 priests.

In his homily, Cardinal McElroy spoke about the 2010 movie “Of Gods and Men,” a fictionalized account of the days leading up to the kidnapping and martyrdom of seven Trappist monks in Algeria in 1996.

After debating among themselves about whether to leave their monastery or to stay put despite teh danger, the monks reached a consensus by “putting aside pretenses,” the cardinal said. “So it is with our lives…”

When we live with facades, they become prisons, he said, while “humility calls us to put aside those facades and to be open with people.”

“Humility,” he continued, “calls us to try to challenge that very common human impulse to place our own selves first. It’s a very hard thing to do in practice because it’s so deep in the human heart and soul and spirit.”

“The Gospel challenges us to do precisely this,” he added, “to take account of the rights, the lives … of others, as much as we do of ourselves.”

“That is Christian humility. That is the humility Christ calls us to in the Gospel of today, and that is the humility we should ask God for today and every day,” McElroy said.

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  1. Thanks be to God for this latest grace of American contribution to the global governance and mission of the Catholic Church in the person and ministry of the new Cardinal, Bishop Robert McElroy. Makes me proud and grateful to God being an American Catholic. I pray: “Heavenly Father, in these challenging times when the Church in the U.S. is threatened by the inflow of the national political polarization into the Church give our new Cardinal holiness of life and wisdom to serve in his new office and as diocesan bishop to work for love, justice and the healing of divisions and let this outflow into the politics, culture, and society of our nation and the world so that we may ever grow as your family. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

    • Serious question: What about Cardinal McElroy makes you think he will help heal divisions and address polarization in the U.S.?

      • Views like this using the lenses of political division is precisely a symptom of the political polarization from outside coming into and influencing the inner life of the Church. My prayer is for prelates like Cardinal McElroy, leaders, and all of us Catholics to reverse this flow and from inside the church into the wider outside world of politics, economics, culture, and society bring about the healing of divisions and incarnate more closely God’s family in love and justice.

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