DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     March 3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 43


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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.

26.   Cardinal Francesco Colasuonno

      A diplomat from the beginning, Cardinal Francesco Colasuonno, now 74, was born on January 2, 1925 in Grumo Appulia, Italy and at only 22 years-old became a priest in the Archdiocese of Bari where the Archbishop assigned him as a professor at the seminary there for eleven years. In 1958 Pope Pius XII, in the last year of his pontificate, summoned Francesco to Rome to begin a career in the diplomatic corp, first as an assistatn in the section for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Secretariat of State and then to the post of Nunciature. After stints as Nunciature in the United States, India and then Taiwan, Pope Paul VI tabbed him to be ordained titular Archbishop of Truentum on December 6, 1974, assigning Archbishop Colasuonno to be the First Apostolic Delegate to Mozambique until 1981 when Pope John Paul II reassigned him as Apostolic Delegate to Zimbabwe. For a year's period between 1985 and 1986 he served as Apostolic Pro-nuncio to Yugoslavia before the Holy Father picked him to head the Holy See delegation for permanent working contacts with Poland - a special pet project of the Pope because it was his native homeland and breakthroughs were occurring politically that would usher in the fall of communism and bring about a free Poland once again. This translated in 1990 to his being selected in the same capacity to working with the Soviet Union until 1994 when the the red sickle was buried in the collapse of communism behind the iron curtain. The Pope reassigned Francesco to be Nuncio to Italy in 1994 to the present as well as San Marino a year later to the present. He was rewarded for his loyal and invaluable service to the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff by being elevated to the College of Cardinals in the most recent Consistory last February 21st.

      Cardinal Colasuonno is active in the Curia serving as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches as well as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Because of his age, it is highly unlikely he would be considered a papal possibility in the event of an election, but his background and knowledge of varied cultures and problems makes him eligible for consideration, especially if an Italian were to be considered as a compromise candidate.

March 3, 1999       volume 10, no. 43


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