DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 188


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. 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, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

106.   Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra

        The Prince of the Church with the longest single name is Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra who was born in Ambohimalaza, Madagascar on August 7, 1925. He was raised in a wealthy family on the island, a family of royalty who had converted to the Faith centuries before. During his youth Madagascar was under French rule. After first choosing a secular career, he felt the calling a few years later and enrolled in preparation for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest on July 27, 1954 at the age of 29 in Paris where he received his doctorate at the University there and returned to Madagascar, assigned as a parish pirest with pastoral work being his prime goal.

        He also became sincerely interested in the National Catechist Center, realizing to maintain and keep the Faith alive and for it to grow the people needed to know their faith through catechetics. He was appointed the Director in the mid seventies because of this zeal and his expertise in implementing such plans. Also because of his specialty, he was assigned Rector of the minor seminary in Madagascar which followed the same position in the major seminary there. It was a tumultous time, these years, for a growing resentment had grown against the French and in 1972 the military pulled a coup taking over the government, and three years later Marxist rule took fosrm after martial law had been declared. The Bishop had all he could do to keep his flock faithful. Thankfully the catechetical norms he had introduced were of great value during these trying times.

        On April 27, 1978 Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Mahajanga on Madagascar and he was consecrated on July 2, 1978. During his time in this post, he founded the Ecumenical Commission of Theology and was charged with drafting a statute for the Council of the Madagascar Christian Churches. It was this council that would play a vital role in casting off the shackles of communism and in the island's government becoming democratic in 1992. On February 3, 1994 Pope John Paul II appointed him as the new Archbishop of Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. He was installed on May 14, 1994. Later that same year he was elevated to the cardinalate during the Consistory of November 26, 1994 receiving the titular church of Sts. Sylvester and Martin at Monti. He was also appointed Apostolic Administrator of Miarinarivo. Cardinal Razafindratandra also serves membership in the Roman Curia of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He resides in the Bishop's Residence at Archeveche, Andohalo, Antananarivo 101 in Madagascar.

October 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 188


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