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Cardinal-designate reveals he was informed of appointment only 1 day before announcement

Catholic World News - October 26, 2012

Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis (Isaac) Thottunkal, the head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church since 2007, has revealed that he learned he would be named a cardinal on October 23, only one day before Pope Benedict made his surprise announcement of a November 24 consistory.

“On receiving the letter [from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone] I straight away went to St. Peter’s Basilica, to Peter’s tomb and I knelt down and prayed,” the prelate said. “And then I spent an hour at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, who in fact appointed me as bishop in 2001, at the age of 42. Then after praying the rosary there I went to St. Mary Major, this is a place that gives me a lot of consolation, strength and confidence where I can pray unnoticed by anyone.”

Recalling the development of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, he said that “in 1930 a group of people joined the Catholic Church under the leadership of Archbishop Mar Ivanios, who is also known as the Newman of the East … Mar Ivanios had just four people with him, just four. After 82 years, now the Church has over 500,000 faithful, in India, North America, England, and Ireland.”

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