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New Toronto cardinal joins Pope Benedict for morning mass

Toronto’s Thomas Collins was one of the 22 new cardinals who celebrated mass with Pope Benedict Sunday morning.

The mass at St. Peter’s Basilica featured one of the new cardinals addressing the congregation about evangelization and spreading the word of the church, a priority for Pope Benedict.

An estimated 8,000 faithful were at the morning service to hear the Pope’s speech to the city and world.

Generally cardinals get their rings during the Sunday service, but to streamline the process, the rings were handed out along with their hats at Saturday’s ceremony.

Two people from Toronto took part in Sunday’s service in Rome, bearing the gifts for Pope Benedict.

“Knots, ties, nerves, nervous tension, especially when we were holding onto the chalice,” said Cardinal Collins’ assistant Richard, whom Collins asked to take part in the ceremony.

Another of his assistants, Sylvia, was also in awe.

“I was so blank at that moment,” she said. “It’s just overwhelming.”

Cardinal Collins said he’s against relaxing Catholic doctrine to appeal to more Canadians, calling it a nonsensical idea which wouldn’t bring more people through the doors.