by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If he were the subject of a question on the game show “Jeopardy!,” the category would be “Rising Stars.”
He’s one of the youngest members of the College of Cardinals.
He was the editing secretary of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
He even made some commentators’ short list for pope during the last conclave.
And he’s coming to the archdiocese at the end of this month.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the cardinal archbishop of Vienna since 1995 and president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, will visit the archdiocese from Jan. 30 to 31. “This will be a special grace and blessing for our archdiocese and especially for our priests during this Year for Priests,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
Cardinal Schönborn has not only gained international prominence for his work as the editing secretary of the catechism, but also because he has become a leading voice on some of the great issues facing the church. He has spoken about evolution and creation and has promoted the “re-evangelization” of Europe and the reform of Catholic higher education.
The main purpose of the cardinal’s journey here is for him to pay a call to a relatively new religious community, the Little Sisters of the Lamb. One year ago, the community founded a monastery in the former St. Benedict Parish rectory in Kansas City, Kan.
Cardinal Schönborn is a personal friend of Little Sister Marie, the foundress of the community. He has had the community under his oversight and care since June 1996. The Community of the Lamb has a Dominican charism, and Cardinal Schönborn is also a Dominican.
The cardinal will arrive in the Kansas City area late Jan. 30 to visit the monastery. The next day, Jan. 31, he will travel to Benedictine College and St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison. There, he will be the main celebrant at a noon Mass at the abbey church. At 2:30 p.m., he will deliver a lecture called “Pope Benedict, Regensburg, and the Controversy of Creation and Evolution” in the O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium in the student union.
Both the Mass and the lecture at Benedictine are open to the public.
While he is at Benedictine College, Cardinal Schönborn will be presented with the college’s highest honor, the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict, for his leadership in the church — and especially for his work on the catechism.
When the cardinal advised Archbishop Naumann that he would be visiting the archdiocese and would be willing to give a lecture while he was in the Kansas City area, the archbishop suggested Benedictine College.
“Archbishop Naumann contacted me and asked if we would be willing to host the cardinal on our campus for a lecture, and we immediately told the archbishop that we would be honored,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College. “We have never had a sitting cardinal visit our campus, so this is a first.”
After the lecture, the cardinal will travel to Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan. There, he will preside and preach at a vespers service for the priests of the archdiocese. Priests and bishops from Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri have been invited to the vespers and to the reception and dinner that follow.