Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, O.F.M. Conv. (Credit: Vatican Media) 

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Feb 21, 2021  : Pope Francis on Saturday named Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, O.F.M. Conv., to succeed Cardinal Angelo Comastri as Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vicar General for Vatican City State.

The resignation of Comastri, 77, was also accepted by Pope Francis Feb. 20. Comastri had filled the posts since 2005.

Gambetti, who was elevated to the position of cardinal in November 2020, was general custos, or head, of the convent attached to the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi from 2013 to 2020.

With the positions of archpriest and vicar general, Gambetti was also appointed president of the Fabric of St. Peter, the office responsible for maintenance of the basilica.

At 55 years old, Gambetti is the third youngest member of the College of Cardinals.

He has been a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual since 1992, and according to GCatholic.org, he was the first Conventual Franciscan to become a cardinal since 1861.

Born in a small city outside of Bologna in 1965, Gambetti earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bologna— the oldest university in the world— before joining the Conventual Franciscans at the age of 26.

He made his final vows in 1998 and was ordained a priest in 2000. Following his ordination, he served in youth ministry in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna before being elected superior of the Franciscans in the Bologna province in 2009.

The archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica is in charge of the worship and pastoral activity of the basilica. The position has a long history and has always been assigned to a cardinal. Since 1991, the archpriest of the basilica is also the pope’s vicar for the Vatican City State.

The archpriest is one of the pope’s closest collaborators, and manages and organizes the worship of the most emblematic temple in the Catholic world, with 45 altars and 11 chapels, plus additional chapels below the basilica in the Vatican Grottoes.

The basilica’s Mass schedule usually includes six Masses on weekdays and five Masses on Sundays. Besides the regular schedule, there is the possibility for priests and bishops to offer Mass in every chapel of the basilica, which can be booked by pilgrim groups or individuals.

Courtesy : CNA

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