John XXIII's Secretary Given Red Hat in Private Ceremony

98-Year-Old Was Too Frail to Attend Feb. 22 Consistory

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The dean of the College of Cardinals conferred the red hat on 98-year-old Loris Francesco Capovilla on Saturday, an honor that recognized his service as personal secretary of Pope John XXIII.

Cardinal Capovilla was not present at the Feb. 22 consistory because of his age and frailty.

Cardinal Capovilla received the red hat at Soto il Monte, Bergamo, from the hand of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, acting on behalf of the Pope.

The cardinal was assigned the titular see of Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest and most prestigious Cardinal titles.

Present at the ceremony, in addition to the bishop of Bergamo, were Bishop Francesco Beschi; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto; and other prelates such as Milan’s auxiliary, Luigi Stucchi; the bishop of Vigevano, Maurizio Gervasoni; the bishop of Fidenza, Carlo Mazza; and the bishop of Cremona, Dante Lafranconi. 

The parish church of Sotto il Monte, native land of the Good Pope, who will be canonized this coming April 27 together with John Paul II, was crowded with faithful from all over Italy, including some of Pope Roncalli’s relatives.

The rite was followed by a Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving, presided over by Cardinal Sodano.

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