Skip to comments.Pope Selects American Priest for Rare St. Peter's Job
Posted on 01/23/2013 12:12:02 PM PST by NYer
VATICAN CITY — For the first time in the 21st century, Pope Benedict XVI has made an American priest a canon of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
"You're the first of this century and the first of this millennium," said Cardinal Angelo Comastri during the Jan. 20 celebration for Msgr. Francis Kelly.
"This is a celebration of fidelity, and fidelity is maintaining during the whole life the commitment pronounced in your youth," he added in St. Peter's Basilica, referring to Msgr. Kelly's priesthood of 50 years.
Pope Benedict XVI announced Msgr. Kelly's new role in an Oct. 20 decree, giving the 76-year-old the primary tasks of prayer and worship. A canon is a senior priest who is responsible for the celebration of the sacred liturgy at the Vatican basilica and for maintaining a prayerful presence in the place where St. Peter is buried. Canons lead the recitation of evening prayers and concelebrate Mass on Sundays at 10:30am as well as on major feast days.
There are 24 canons in St. Peter's Basilica, and, with the addition of Msgr. Kelly, they represent 10 countries.
Cardinal Comastri said that his representation of the United States is "a beautiful sign of the catholicity of the Church."
Before Msgr. Kelly, there were two U.S.-born priests who were made canons in the 20th century — Msgr. William Anthony Hemmick and Archbishop Martin O'Connor.
As he prepared to take on his new role and before his installation, Msgr. Kelly celebrated a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, a residence for American priests who studying in Rome, where he has served as the superior for the last eight years.
"It was a beautiful Mass and very meaningful for me," he said.
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"The priesthood is the most extraordinary adventure, privilege and satisfying lifestyle that anyone could be called to," Msgr. Kelly told Catholic News Agency.
**As he prepared to take on his new role and before his installation, Msgr. Kelly celebrated a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, a residence for American priests who studying in Rome, where he has served as the superior for the last eight years.**
One of our local seminarians is studying there in Rome.
Maybe I misspoke. I see this residence was for priests.