Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka

Cardinal Szoka, at Madonna University Chapel
Saturday evening I attended Mass at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Northville, Michigan. To my surprise, the Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Szoka. The Cardinal was the President of Vatican City from 2001-2006. I met the Cardinal when I taught at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and he was in residence there. He is now retired but ministering as a priest in Northville.
He gave a thoughtful homily on Matthew 21:28ff
“But how does it seem to you? A certain man had two sons. And
approaching the first, he said: ‘Son, go out today to work in my
vineyard.’ And responding, he said, ‘I am not willing.’ But afterwards, being moved by repentance, he went. And approaching the other, he spoke similarly. And answering, he said, ‘I am going, lord.’ And he did not go. Which of the two did the will of the father?” They said to him,
“The first.” Jesus said to them: “Amen I say to you, that tax collectors
and prostitutes shall precede you, into the kingdom of God. For John came to you in the way of justice, and you did not
believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.
Yet even after seeing this, you did not repent, so as to believe him.”
The Cardinal pointed out that both sons were not perfect; but at least one of them served. The good son would say Yes and go to the vineyard. He warned us of the danger of saying, “yes” but failing to really follow Jesus and following as we should. He said that he has only known maybe two people who said yes and really followed through daily in doing the will of the Father. I presume his Polish brother, Blessed John Paul II was one of them.
After Mass he greeted the members of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars who were in attendance. It was a privilege to be in the presence of this gracious man and wise priest, who assisted Blessed John Paul II for many years.


Szoka was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Here is a brief bio of the Cardinal:
Cardinal
Edmund Casimir Szoka,
Archbishop emeritus of Detroit (U.S.A.);
President
emeritus of the Governatorate
of Vatican City
; President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for
Vatican City State
, was born on 14 September 1927 in Grand Rapids,
Michigan. His parents are Casimir, a polish
immigrant, and Mary Szoka. He did his primary
studies at St. Michael school in Muskegon. He
entered St. Joseph’s seminary in Grand Rapids
and then St. John’s in Plymouth, always in
Michigan. He was
ordained a priest on 5 June 1954 in Marquette
and served as an assistant priest in the parish
of St. Francis in Manistique, Michigan. He accompanied Bishop
Noa to the first session of the Vatican II
Ecumenical Council. On 11
June 1971 he was elected Bishop of Gaylord in
Michigan and was ordained on 20 July 1971.  On 21
March 1981 he was named Archbishop of Detroit. Created and proclaimed
Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 28
June 1988, of the Title of Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio (Sts. Andrew and
Gregory at Monte Celio).
He went to the Vatican in 1990 and served as President of the Prefecture
for Economic Affairs of the
Holy See, 22 January 1990 to 14 October 1997. He was named President
of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, 14 October
1997 to 15 September 2006. He was named President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, 22 February
2001 to 15 September 2006.

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