Historic day for Haiti, Mgr. Chibly Langlois, first Cardinal

On February 23, 2014, the investiture ceremony of 19 new cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica took place. Among the new cardinals, arrayed in their purple vestments and cardinal's caps, was Haiti's Mgr. Chibly Langlois, its first cardinal ever.

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Haiti's First Cardinal Receives Pope's Blessing

People began filling the Basilica as early as 8 am. The overflow crowd stayed outside in an area, where they could view the Consistory on over-sized screens. The crowd waited expectedly for the appearance of Pope Francis, who was elected to the papacy last March, and is the first pontiff from Latin America. The church organist began playing at 11 am as Pope Francis drew near. The unexpected presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI caused added to the significance of the occasion. He sat in the front row and was greeted by Pope Francis, amid applause from the congregation.

During his sermon, Francis talked about the simplicity of Jesus' teachings, that he did not espouse a doctrine, but "the way of the Cross". Francis furthermore asked of the new cardinals their cooperation, courage, and "to bear witness to the truth". At the conclusion of his sermon, Francis called each new cardinal's name to come and kneel before him. He blessed, embraced, and handed each their cardinal's ring and parchment certificate of their legal status as cardinals of the Holy Roman See.

Before leaving the Basilica, the cardinals received one last blessing from Francis and emerged from the church to rousing cheering and applause.

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