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USCCB President Congratulates, Offers Prayers To Pope Francis On The Inauguration Of His Pontificate

 
March 19, 2013

Offers support, fidelity on behalf of bishops and Catholics in the United States
Pope's message of mercy and forgiveness encourages the new evangelization
Election has brought renewed sense of unity, hope and love among Catholics

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), congratulated Pope Francis on the occasion of the Inauguration Mass for his pontificate. He expressed the support and fidelity of the U.S. bishops, on behalf of more than 70 million Catholics throughout the 195 dioceses and eparchies in the country.

"Since your election as Roman Pontiff on March 13, the Church in our country has felt a renewed sense of unity, hope and love of Jesus Christ and His Church. Your messages of mercy and forgiveness spur us on to continue the faithful work of the new evangelization in our country and our world," Cardinal Dolan said.

The inauguration Mass took place this morning, March 19, in St. Peter's Square in Rome. "The inauguration of your Petrine ministry, occurring as it does on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, inspires us with the profound awareness that we stand as one before God and before the world united with you as our beloved Shepherd," Cardinal Dolan said.

He also noted the historical importance of the election of a bishop from the Americas to the See of Peter; and reaffirmed his prayers for strength and wisdom as Pope Francis begins his ministry to the Church as the Vicar of Christ.

The full text of the cardinal's letter follows:

LETTER OF CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN ON THE INAUGURATION OF PONTIFICATE OF POPE FRANCIS

MARCH 19, 2013

FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH

Most Holy Father,

On the joyful occasion of the Mass to inaugurate your ministry as Bishop of Rome, I wish to convey to you the deep affection, prayerful support and sincere pledge of fidelity of the Bishops of the United States of America and the more than 70 million Catholic faithful throughout the 195 dioceses and eparchies across our nation.

Since your election as Roman Pontiff on March 13, the Church in our country has felt a renewed sense of unity, hope and love of Jesus Christ and His Church. Your messages of mercy and forgiveness spur us on to continue the faithful work of the new evangelization in our country and our world. The inauguration of your Petrine ministry, occurring as it does on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, inspires us with the profound awareness that we stand as one before God and before the world united with you as our beloved Shepherd.

The election to the See of Peter of a bishop from the Americas fills us with special happiness as we sense a special bond and closeness with you. We pray for you, Holy Father, for strength, wisdom and much joy as you begin your ministry to the Church as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of Saint Peter.

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Keywords: Vatican, Holy See, Pope Francis, Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry, Installation Mass, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Inauguration of Pontificate, Vicar of Christ, St. Peter's Basilica

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