– Cardinal-designate Robert W. McElroy told reporters May 31 that when he learned he is among the 21 new cardinals Pope Francis will create Aug. 27, “I said a big prayer. I said several prayers because I was stunned and so shocked by this,” said the 68-year-old prelate who heads the San Diego Diocese. He is the only American in the group the pope announced May 29. “It was prayer in gratitude for my family and the many people who have helped form me over the years and thanksgiving to God for all their roles in my life,” he said during a 25-minute news conference held outside the diocesan pastoral center. After the consistory, he will be among 132 cardinals under the age of 80, who will be eligible to vote in a conclave. The number of those over 80 will be 97, bringing the total number of cardinals to 229. A native of San Francisco, Bishop McElroy is the sixth bishop of San Diego. He was installed April 15, 2015. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco April 12, 1980, he was an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese from September 2010 until he was named to head the Diocese of San Diego in 2015. “By naming Bishop Robert McElroy as a cardinal, Pope Francis has shown his pastoral care for the church in the United States,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I have known and have had the privilege of working with Cardinal-designate McElroy for many years.”

– Any Catholic who participates in the celebration July 24 of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly can receive a plenary indulgence, the Vatican announced. “Grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, motivated by a true spirit of penance and charity,” attend Mass or other prayer services for the occasion can receive the indulgence, which “can also be applied as a suffrage for the souls in purgatory,” said the announcement published May 30. Pope Francis celebrated the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021 and decreed that it be observed each year on the Sunday closest to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. In his message for this year’s celebration, Pope Francis asked older people like himself to be “artisans of the revolution of tenderness. We grandparents and elderly people have a great responsibility: to teach the women and men of our time to regard others with the same understanding and loving gaze with which we regard our own grandchildren,” he had written.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Holy Trinity shows how to be open to others and to be good, generous and gentle, Pope Francis said. “The Trinity teaches us that one can never be without the other. We are not islands, we are in the world to live in God’s image: open, in need of others and in need of helping others,” the pope said June 12 before reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He also led prayers for the people of Ukraine, who remain “afflicted by war” and whose situation “remains vivid in my heart.” He urged that the world “not grow accustomed” to the tragedy in Ukraine. “Let us always keep it in our hearts. Let us pray and strive for peace,” he said after reciting the Angelus prayer. In his main address, the pope reflected on the day’s feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which celebrates God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks, not of himself, but “he announces Jesus and reveals the Father. And we also notice that the Father, who possesses everything because he is the origin of all things, gives to the Son everything he possesses,” the pope said. The Holy Trinity “is open generosity, one open to the other.”

Inge Kraegeloh, 69, and Werner Deigendesch, 75, of Germany walk on the Via Dolorosa’s new accessible lane in the Old City of Jerusalem June 3, 2022. The Accessible Jerusalem-Old City makes many streets accessible to wheelchairs, baby strollers, and the vision impaired. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

– After 10 years of systematic work, the Old City of Jerusalem is more accessible to the disabled and the elderly. The pandemic-related shutdown allowed for completion of work of the last, most sensitive mile of the historic stone alleyways of the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross. It took years for the first 2.5 miles of the $6.5 million Accessible Jerusalem-Old City project to be complete because of the complexity of working within a historic area that is less than a half square mile in size. Both the Old City and its walls are designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site, requiring planners to carefully consider changes as they accommodated the needs of residents living their daily lives and millions of visitors a year, said Gura Berger, spokeswoman for the East Jerusalem Development Co., which implemented the program. “We worked day and night and we made (1 mile) accessible in two years,” Berger said. “These are the most sentimental (miles) because for the first time in history the Via Dolorosa is accessible. We did something important because people really come here in awe, with respect and hopes to the holy city.”

SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) – Bishops in South Korea have moved ahead to pursue the canonization of 81 Catholics, including priests, religious and laypeople who were martyred by communist forces during the Korean War. The Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization held its closing session June 7 for preliminary examination of 81 Servants of God, the title accorded to individuals as the first step toward canonization, according to a notice from the bishops’ conference of Korea. The bishops agreed that the candidates were “witnesses of modern and contemporary faith” of the Korean Church, reported. Sainthood candidates include Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho of Pyongyang, 49 priests, seven religious and 23 laymen who were tortured and killed by the communists before and after the Korean War, which was fought from 1950 to 1953. The martyrs include foreign missionaries. One was Msgr. Patrick James Byrne, an American Maryknoll missionary who was the apostolic delegate to Korea. The bishops’ conference said a preliminary examination of data and research materials began Feb. 22, 2017, and 25 sessions were held until May 13 this year. The committee will submit the data and documents it has gathered to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.