Cardinal Francis Arinze visited Mansfield St. Peter’s on Monday, September 16 and celebrated the 5:30 p.m. Mass. Cardinal Arinze is from Nigeria and was in Ohio over the weekend to attend a fundraiser outside of Cleveland.
“I bring you the blessings and greetings from Pope Francis and from the church of Rome, and therefore, from the universal church,” Arinze said during his homily. “I’m happy to be with you in this beautiful church of yours.”
Arinze, 86, has led a distinguished life.
At the time of his consecration, Arinze became the youngest Catholic bishop in the world at the age of 32. Beginning in 1967, he served as archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria, and, in the course of the Nigerian Civil War, was forced to become a refugee.
He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and served as pro-President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In 2002, Pope John Paul II named Arinze as prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a Vatican department responsible for upholding the church’s traditions, teachings, and liturgical practices. He resigned that post in 2008.
It is believed that this is the first time in the parish’s 175-year history that a Cardinal has celebrated Mass in our church.