DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     April 7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 68


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      This new feature that we introduce today will spotlight each member of the Conclave. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

40.   Cardinal Jose Freire

          The youngest of the five Brazilian cardinals by 32 days, Cardinal Jose Freire Falcao was born on October 23, 1925 in Erere, Brazil. At the age of 24 he became a priest on June 19, 1949. After eighteen years of pastoral work within his diocese he was tabbed by Pope Paul VI to become titular Bishop of Vardimissa on April 24, 1967 and two months later appointed coadjutor bishop of Limoeiro do Norte on June 17th. Two months later he became the acting Bishop of Limoeiro do Norte. on August 19, 1967 where he remained until he was named Archbishop of Teresina on November 25, 1971. After twelve and a half years of loyal service to his flock in Teresina Pope John Paul II promoted him to Archbishop of Brasilia on February 15, 1984, a position he still holds today at the age of 74.

          He, along with fellow Brazilian prelate Cardinal Neves Lucas Moriera, 32 days his senior, were named by the Holy Father to receive the red-hat in the Consistory of June 28, 1988 in Rome. Cardinal Falcao was given the titular church of St. Luke on Via Prenestina. He enjoys limited curial membership in the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

          Over the years Cardinal Falcao has written several articles for the two daily newspapers in Brazil - the Journal de Brazil and the Brazilian Courier and has consistently striven to uphold his motto of serving in humility, working in the establishment of ecclesiastical communities. He has held down numerous responsibilities for the Brazilian Episcopal Conference over the years. Getting on in age and because of his limited international experience, he would not be considered a contender were there to be a papal election in the near future.

April 7, 1999       volume 10, no. 68


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