Pope Francis cancels meetings due to having a cold

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2013 / 09:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- It was announced earlier today that Pope Francis cancelled all of his morning meetings due to a cold, but still presided over a scheduled Mass in which he ordained a bishop in the afternoon.

In a statement issued to journalists on Nov. 15, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi noted that although the Pope had four audiences scheduled with various heads of dicasteries within the Curia, he decided to postpone them because the officials live in Rome and can be met with at any time.

However, despite his illness, Fr. Lombardi revealed that the Pope still decided to preside, as previously planned, over a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the afternoon.

During the Mass, which occurred at 4:30pm local time, Pope Francis ordained Monsignor Fernando Vergez Alzaga, Secretary General of the Vatican City State’s Governing Body, as a bishop.

Msgr. Alzaga is a member of the Legionaries of Christ, and was appointed to his position as Secretary General by the Pope earlier this fall.

It was noted upon his appointment that bishop-elect has not been appointed as a titular bishop, which is a traditional custom for the position, causing some to question the possibly that this is a signal of a new policy of Pope Francis.

Born in Salamanca in 1945, Msgr. Vérgez made his perpetual profession with the Legionaries in 1965, receiving his priestly ordination in 1969. He studied philosophy and theology at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, and obtained a diploma from the School of Archives at the Vatican’s Secret Archives.

Fr. Vérgez first began his work for the Vatican over forty years ago, in 1972, at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Afterwards, in 1984, he was transferred to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, before becoming the head of the Holy See’s internet office ten years later. He served there until becoming head of the telecommunications office in 2008.

There are no current dates set for the morning’s audiences to be re-scheduled.

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