Today, at around midday, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjinth took possession of his titular church, the beautiful San Lorenzo in Lucina. I had the privilege of meeting His Eminence when he was still Archbishop Ranjnith, then-Secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments back in 2008 during the Gateway Liturgical Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
Most folks may not know this, but, there are three orders within the College of Cardinals: Cardinal Bishops, Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons. The Cardinal Bishops, as Fr. Z explains in his excellent blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say", are those who "become Prefect of one of the most important Congregations, such as the 'Suprema' (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). The former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, for example, had the rank of Cardinal Bishop.
Cardinal priests are those cardinals who are Metropolitan Archbishops. To this rank belong Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Justin Cardinal Rigali and now, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjinth. Cardinal priests get their own titular parishes, as was the case today with Cardinal Ranjinth.
The last order, that of Cardinal deacon, is assigned to those cardinals who are in the Roman Curia. Among the Cardinal Deacons are Raymond Cardinal Burke, since he serves as the Prefect for the Apostolic Signatura, and Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
San Lorenzo in Lucina, Cardinal Ranjinth's new titular church, is a minor Basilica in Rome. Named after St. Lawrence, the Roman deacon and martyr, it dates back to the fourth century. The fascade dates back to the 12th century, the time that it was rebuilt by Pope Paschal II. According to Wikipedia, the interior went through a renovation in the mid 17th century.
This beautiful basilica holds relics sacred to the memory of the venerable Roman martyr St. Lawrence.
This picture shows the reliquary housing the gridiron on which St. Lawrence received the crown of martyrdom. He was roasted atop the gridiron for the Faith.
When the Roman prefect demanded that St. Lawrence give him the treasures of the Church, the holy deacon assembled the poor and the infirmed. "These are the treasures of the Church," he told the prefect.
For me, it is no accident that Pope Benedict XVI assigned the titular church of San Lorenzo in Lucina to Cardinal Ranjinth. During his time as Secretary for the CDWDS, Cardinal Ranjinth did his best to safeguard the treasures of the Church, mainly her Liturgy and her Sacraments. Now more than ever, the Church must remain steadfast in safeguarding the integrity of her liturgical celebrations. With the recent developments concerning the implementation of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, wherein priests are engaging in open revolt against the Holy See, we need St. Lawrence's intercession more than ever.
May St. Lawrence intercede for the CDWDS and for Cardinal Ranjinth as he takes his place as a member of that Congregation.