Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, joined Bishop Kevin Vann and an overflow congregation made up of representatives of the Neocatechumenal Way from several parishes throughout the Diocese of Orange at a special Mass Dec. 6 at Our Lady of La Vang Church.
Cardinal Cordes is the former Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and, according to Bishop Vann, had “special responsibility given to him by Saint John Paul II for the new movements, in particular the charismatic movements and the Neocatechumenal Way.”
Bishop Vann called the Mass, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people, “a joyous event,” and said that Cardinal Cordes’ visit was “a real blessing in that he was able to share his great experience with us of the Universal Church in its outreach to those in need, and of the energy and vitality of the ecclesial movements which are such an important feature in the life of the Body of Christ today.”
Bishop Vann and Cardinal Cordes have known each other for several years, meeting as a result of Bishop Vann’s membership on the board of Cross Catholic, which works directly with the Holy See’s agency Cor Unum. “Cor Unum,” said Bishop Vann, “could be described as the Holy See’s ‘charitable arm’ that seeks to respond to situations of great human and material need (some of which are emergencies) in various parts of the world.
“More immediately, I spent some time with Cardinal Cordes just this past Easter season. Bishop Dominic Luong and I were on retreat at the ‘Domus Galilea’ with members of the Neocatechumenal Way from around the world, and the cardinal was on the same retreat. I learned of his time as Secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Laity under Pope John Paul II. During that time, Cardinal Cordes was involved in the formation of World Youth Day, and was the Holy Father’s personal liaison for all of the ecclesial movements worldwide during the Jubilee Year—including the Neocatechmenal Way, which he knows very well.”