Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto uses incense as he celebrates a Mass to take possession of his titular church of St. Patrick in Rome Oct. 23.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto uses incense as he celebrates a Mass to take possession of his titular church of St. Patrick in Rome Oct. 23.

November 5, 2012

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto took possession of his titular church Oct. 23, celebrating an evening Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Rome.

“Now, after 40 years of ordination to the priesthood, I am, in a certain sense, becoming a parish priest,” the cardinal said in his homily.

Collins, who became a cardinal in February, was assigned to be honorary pastor of the Irish national church in Rome.

All cardinals are given honorary title to a church in Rome, as a reminder that the early popes were elected by the city’s pastors.

“Although a cardinal relates to the universal Church, he is also a parish priest, and that’s something very, very beautiful,” Collins told the congregation, which included pilgrims from Toronto and Edmonton.

“The Church is universal and the Church is always local, like concave and convex, the universal and local,” he said. “Those two must go together.”

The cardinal concelebrated with about 20 priests, including Archbishops Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan, Alta., and Richard Smith of Edmonton.