VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like many others who were named cardinals by Pope Francis, Cardinal-designate Jose Tolentino Calaca de Mendonca was caught off guard when he found out about his appointment.
“I was celebrating Mass in a small chapel in Lisbon (Portugal) and, at the end of the celebration, I received the news from other people,” the 53-year-old cardinal-designate told Vatican News Sept. 2.
Cardinal-designate de Mendonca, who currently serves as Vatican archivist and librarian, was among 13 prelates from around the world whose names were announced Sept. 1 as new cardinals by Pope Francis during his midday Angelus address.
The announcement, the cardinal-designate said, reminded him of Jesus’ command to “look for the last place.”
“I felt this very clearly in the call that the Holy Father has made to me which, in fact, is a call to a more radical service and great humility in collaboration with the Holy Father and in unity with the whole church,” he said.
Born Dec. 15, 1965, on the island of Madeira, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He published his first book of poems, “Os Dias Contados” (“The Days Counted”) the same year of his ordination.
After 2000, Cardinal-designate de Mendonca authored six poetry books and won several literary awards in his native Portugal.
In addition to being an award-winning poet, he is a biblical scholar and a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Culture.
While serving as vice rector of the Catholic University of Lisbon, he was asked to lead the meditations for the 2018 Lenten retreat with Pope Francis and top members of the Roman Curia.
Then-Father de Mendonca gave 10 talks during the retreat, beginning with a meditation titled “Apprentices of Awe.” The other presentations include examining the meaning and experience of thirst, “the thirst for nothing,” “the thirst for Jesus,” tears and thirst, desire and “the beatitude of thirst.”
Pope Francis will create the new cardinals during an Oct. 5 consistory at the Vatican.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103