“I am here to express all my affection to Don Claudio, in this moment of celebration, but also of sadness; behind it, however, there is all the awareness of a course completed and of a contribution rendered to God and to the Church. And it is this that consoles and makes this moment beautiful,” said Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on greeting Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who ended his service this week, having reached the age limit.
The Vatican Secretariat for Communication organized a celebration for the occasion, inviting also all those who have collaborated with Archbishop Celli in the years he governed the Dicastery, from 2007 to 2016.
“I knew Don Claudio many years ago,” said Cardinal Parolin, as reported by Italian agency Sir, “and this knowledge grew in the years of the State Secretariat, in the realm of the Holy See’s Diplomacy (Honduras, Argentina and the Philippines). Then, in the Second Section of the State Secretariat, where he was my superior. I learned so much from him and tried to put into practice what I learned, especially in contacts with the Chinese. Therefore, I am happy that, after leaving his office, Don Claudio is at the disposition of the Holy See to help us in this dossier, which is not particularly easy.”
Cardinal Parolin then confirmed his “affection” for and “gratitude” to Monsignor Celli, and concluded: “May the Lord continue to accompany you in your service at Villa Nazareth as Vice-President of the College, and “give you much consolation and joy while you continue to serve Him and the Church.”
“We lived intensely almost 10 years,” Archbishop Celli said, thanking all those present and recalling some initiatives taken by the Pontifical Council as, for instance, “the opening of the @Pontifex account on Twitter: not easy, but then Pope Benedict XVI chose to continue to be where people are, despite the risks run. And today, we all appreciate the Pope’s presence on social networks and his communicative role. A much loved reality by young people, because the Pope uses a language that is their language.”
The years spent in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, he added, were “rich years, of profound communication with the Church in the different parts of the world. In fact, I believe that our mission is to help the universal Church to play an important role in communication,” stressed the prelate.
Archbishop Celli also expressed his gratitude to Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano and to Monsignor Lucio Adrian Ruiz, Prefect and Secretary, respectively, of the Secretariat for Communications.
“This moment is a sign of your friendship,” he added. “Today is the first day of my retirement” but “it’s not a life of retirement,” rather “a time in which we are called again to bear fruit. And the Holy See helps us a lot to live the Word of the Gospel: ‘We are useless servants.’ This does us much good. [We are] called to bear fruit and to do so with serenity and joy.”