Dear Friar Mauro,
Brother Bishop and Cardinal,

On October 25, 2002, at the end of the Angelus, Pope Francis announced your nomination as cardinal to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and to the world. This news took us all by surprise and moved us. We know your qualities and talents, your clarity of thought and your fidelity to your ministry of fraternal leadership, but we had never imagined that on the eve of your 55th birthday Pope Francis would elevate you to the cardinal’s scarlet!
In 1861, Pius IX made Friar Antonio Maria PANEBIANCO, an illustrious Conventual Franciscan from Sicily, a cardinal. Many decades have passed since then. Now, Pope Francis has promoted you, one of our confreres, to be his collaborator—a man born among Italy’s entrepreneurial class and formed in Assisi; a man of relationships and expertise in the service of authority, authority you have always exercised with prudence, foresight and a fraternal smile. Your attention to environmental issues and the sustainability of our lifestyle, your dynamism and your creativity— these have added to the prestige to our Basilica of St. Francis. They are a legacy that we are called to preserve and develop. In a world diminished by fears and self-referentiality, your ability to dare and look beyond is an incentive for us all to live our vocation as Franciscans today with more enthusiasm.
You are departing to serve the Holy Father; if any confreres regard that as an impoverishment for our Order, let them be assured that your work will be continued by others. Moreover, your being and remaining a Franciscan friar, even within the College of Cardinals, will bear important fruits of “fraternal humanism” for the whole Church and for our Order, which is, and shall always remain, your family.
Dear Brother Mauro, it is my wish that you carry out your episcopal ministry as a shepherd who listens to God and His flock, who loves the Church in its individual members and beyond their smallness. Pope Francis calls you today, as Francis of Assisi was once called, to “repair” his Church, by stepping inside of it to fix it from within, knowing that behind you there is an Order, a family, always ready to support and welcome you.

May this be for you true and perfect joy: that you preserve your peace of heart in a time of crisis, of new and great challenges and troubled cultural and social changes; that you might preserve your Franciscan humility and simplicity of life, even though you have been awarded such great ecclesiastical dignity. Do not be discouraged in the face of any setbacks; always be an instrument of peace in the hands of the Most High, as Francis of Assisi was.

Friar Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI
Minister General
Rome, November 22, 2020
Prot. N. 907/2020