On January 29, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez, LC, the first Legionary of Christ to be created a cardinal, took possession of the deanery of St. Mary of Mercy and St. Adrian in Villa Albani, in the city of Rome.
Cardinal Vérgez presided at the Eucharistic celebration and several cardinals, bishops, and priests concelebrated with him. The parish community of the church of St. Mary of Mercy welcomed its new titular cardinal. At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, the papal bull was read, in which Pope Francis entrusted the pastoral care of this deanery to Cardinal Vérgez and named him it’s Titular Cardinal. Fr. Giuseppe Celano O. de M., pastor of the Church, welcomed the Cardinal for generously assuming this responsibility with the parish community and the Church of Rome.
During his homily, Cardinal Fernando placed his ministry and his work as pastor of the Church in the hands of God and thanked God for the mission that he has entrusted to him, as well as thanking all those who had accompanied him with their prayers and friendship. In his words, he confirmed his desire to accompany the faithful who form part of this parish community as a close and attentive pastor.
At the end of the mass, one woman representing the laity who compose the parish community addressed the Cardinal and made known their joy to receive him in their parish and the desire to embrace him as pastor.
The celebration was attended by more than 200 people, among them cardinals, bishops, priests, men and women religious, and laity. Card. Giuseppe Bertello, Card. Arthur Roche, Mons. Brian Farrell, LC, Mons. Renato Boccardo, Mons. Aurelio García Macías and Mons. Paul Tighe accompanied Cardinal Vérgez as he took possession of the parish.
Representing the Legion of Christ, Fr. John Connor, LC and Fr. Hernán Jiménez, LC were present, along with two deacons and some religious from the communities of Philiosophy and Theology.
Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC
Cardinal Fernando Vérgez was born in Salamanca (Spain) on March 1, 1945. He made his perpetual profession on December 25, 1965 and was ordained a priest on November 26, 1969. He graduated in Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and graduated from the School of Archivists of the Vatican Secret Archives. On August 1, 1972, he began his service at the Holy See in the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; in April 1984, he was transferred to the Pontifical Council for the Laity; in June 2004, he was appointed Head of the Internet Office of the Holy See; and finally, on January 10, 2008, he was appointed Director of the Telecommunications Office of the Vatican City State.
On August 30, 2013, he was appointed secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State and on October 15 of the same year he was elevated to the dignity of the episcopate, receiving the titular bishopric of Villamagna di Proconsolare. On September 29, 2020, he was appointed a member of the Commission for Reserved Affairs. On September 8, 2021, the Holy Father appointed him President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, conferring on him at the same time the personal title of Archbishop. On August 27, 2022, he was created a cardinal by Pope Francis.
The Church of St. Mary of Mercy and St. Adrian is a parish see, instituted by Pope Pius XI on February 2, 1932 with the apostolic constitution In Salaria Huius Almae Urbis; since June 7, 1967 it has been the seat of the cardinal title of “St. Mary of Mercy and St. Adrian in Villa Albani” instituted by Pope Paul VI with the apostolic constitution Hac Nostra Aetate. The church is administered by the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.