Auxiliary Bishop George Arthur Sheltz

2013 Christmas Banquet

Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz told some interesting stories about Daniel Cardinal DiNardo's election as Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the election of Pope Francis.

The Bishops had their yearly meeting in Baltimore. A new president and vice president were going to be elected, and right in the midst was Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. “I said to Dan... I call him Dan because I am a Bishop. I wouldn't call him that as a monsignor”. He said to me to make sure I would do everything I could do to make certain he was not elected. After Archbishop Kurtz was elected president, The vice presidential election was held. “So I didn't vote for DiNardo.” As it turned out, everyone else was in the 22% category, and Cardinal DiNardo won by 87%!

Back in February the pope surprised everyone when he retired. Cardinal DiNardo got off the plane returning from Rome and someone said “The pope retired.” Cardinal DiNardo said “What? I was just with him yesterday!” Cardinal DiNardo returned to Rome for the conclave, and he told me that confidentiality of the proceedings were most important. All electronic devices...cell phones, computers, and other items were were collected. To Prevent inadvertent security lapses the shutters over the windows were nailed shut.

During the papal conclave Cardinal DiNardo told Bishop Sheltz the cardinals had to swear to God that they have chosen the best candidate to be the new pope. It was the scariest moment of the proceedings. When it was apparent Cardinal Bergoglio was to be the new pope, the cardinal whom was sitting next to DiNardo leaned over to him and said “Don't forget the poor.”

When the Pope Francis was to be fitted with his new vestments, he refused all of the usual paraphernalia and elected to wear only the white cassock. This was the first indication he was going to do things his way. Also, he didn't sit in the white chair to greet all those congratulating him. He stood. Then when he went out to address the people, the first thing he did was to ask the people to first bless him.

One of the great stories told at the bishops conference was about the pope, who stayed the first night in a hotel instead of the papal apartment. He awoke, opened the door, and found a Swiss Guard outside the door. Pope Francis asked what he was doing here, and the Swiss Guard said he was protecting the new pope. How long have you been standing here?” Pope Francis asked. “All night, Sir.” Pope Francis went back inside and brought out a chair. “Sit,” he said. “I can't sit because I am on duty.” “I am the pope!” Francis said. He then came out with a cup of coffee and some food for the young man. This was a gesture of what he was all about, a simple man. Sometimes he is passed a zuchetto, or papal cap, by a bystander, He will put it on his head, then give it back. He reaches out, just as Jesus did, to the sick and the poor.

Who are the poor? They just aren't homeless, they are those who are spiritually in need or have lost their way. We should reach out to them. Encourage them. We can encourage them to consider a vocation, simply by reaching out and offering this suggestion.

Say yes to the Lord by reaching out.


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