As you most surely know by now, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, is one of 22 incoming “Princes of the Church” who will be elevated to the dignity of Cardinal in a Consistory to be held on February 18, 2012.
It is traditional for the Consistory to be held on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter. However, this year that feast happens to fall on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent; and the schedule had to be adjusted.
At the Consistory, the new Cardinals will receive from Pope Benedict XVI the zucchetto (the small round skullcap) and the biretta, the red hat that symbolizes their office as papal electors. They will also receive a ring which symbolizes their office within the Church.
Rocco Palmo’s “Whispers in the Loggia,” as usual, breaks the story: Rocco explains that this year, the incoming cardinals will not receive the traditional ring which was designed during the papacy of Pope Paul VI, depicting the crucifixion in bas relief. The new gold rings will instead bear the image of Saints Peter and Paul, underscoring the Church’s continuity from the time of the apostles.
The printed program for Saturday’s Consistory explains the rings, as well as the order of service:
The back part of the ring represents a stylized column like those found in Saint Peter’s Basilica, while the face is a bas-relief in the shape of a cross.
On the face are figures of Saints Peter and Paul, modeled on their statues located in front of the Basilica, representing faith and missionary proclamation.
Between the two Saints, as if to illumine them, is placed an eight-pointed star, a clear reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Inside the ring, beneath the face, are the arms of Pope Benedict XVI in bas-relief.
Congratulations, Cardinal-designate Dolan! Ad Multos Annos.