Cardinal-designate George Alencherry leaves for VaticanFebruary 15th, 2012 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS
Kochi, Feb 15 (IANS) The 66-year-old Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar George Alencherry, who was elevated to the post of Cardinal, left for the Vatican Wednesday morning to get himself ordained by the Pope Saturday afternoon.
Once ordained, Alencherry would become the youngest Cardinal in the country.
At present, there are five Cardinals in India, of whom three are above 80 years and hence do not have voting rights.
Alencherry would be the third Cardinal in the country and be one among the 120 Cardinals who have the voting rights to elect the Pope.
Speaking to IANS, spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church, Father Paul Thelekkat said the Cardinal-designate is accompanied by a contingent of top bishops and the laity.
“He reaches the Vatican later in the day and from Thursday, he will join the Pope and the other Cardinal designates and would be in prayers for the momentous occasion when on Saturday (Indian standard time 2 p.m), the ordination ceremony will take place,” said Thelekkat.
He also added that it would be on that day that the Cardinal will be presented with a red cap and the cardinal’s ring.
“The robe of the Cardinal is red and the special ring may or may not be of gold,” said Thelekkat.
An Indian delegation to witness the ordination is led by Minister of State of Agriculture (independent charge) K.V.Thomas and it includes two Catholic law makers from Kerala, P.T.Thomas and Anto Antony.
Born in Kottayam district, Alencherry was ordained a priest in 1972 and since then, he has held important posts in the Church.
He was ordained a bishop in 1997 and last year in May, he was elected as the Major Archbishop by his church.
In Kerala, three churches owe their allegiance to the Pope. These are the Syro-Malabar, Latin and Syro-Malankara churches.
Alencherry after his ordination would be in Rome till Feb 26 when he leaves for Israel and would return here on March 5.
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Tags: allegiance, anto, antony, bishops, cardinal, catholic law, indian delegation, kochi, laity, malankara, minister of state, momentous occasion, ordination ceremony, red cap, saturday afternoon, syro malabar church, t thomas, three churches, time 2, voting rights