Cardinal Visits College … On His Way to Jail?

A French cardinal spread Christmas cheer all the way from a college campus in Atchison, Kansas, to a county jail in Kansas City.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the Archbishop Emeritus of Lyon, France.

The Little Sisters of the Lamb community in Kansas City, Kansas, brought the cardinal to Benedictine College on Dec. 22, and helped arrange a Dec. 26 visit to the prisoners.

“Cardinal Barbarin is a close friend of our Community,” said Little Sister Judith, who leads the community in Kansas City. “He loves meeting with families. His presence is a gift for us that we’re happy to share.”

The Cardinal was in Assisi with Pope Francis for the Jubilee of the Poor, and Pope Francis said of him:

“And I would like to thank Eminence, Cardinal [Barbarin] for his presence: he is among the poor, he too has suffered with dignity the experience of poverty, abandonment, distrust. And he defended himself with silence and prayer. Thank you, Cardinal Barbarin, for your witness that builds up the Church.”

At Benedictine Colllege, Cardinal Barbarin shared his Christmas message and passed out pictures of his family in France. The Cardinal is one of 11 children of his parents, and was impressed with the big families associated with Benedictine College, including faculty, staff, students, and their families.

On the day after Christmas, Cardinal Barbarin brought a Christmas message to Wyandotte County Jail, reported The Leaven newspaper.

One of the Kansas City sisters, Little Sister Marie-Jeanne, described what the cardinal did. “In each of the six pods we visited, we began by singing a Christmas carol accompanied by a flute, and then Cardinal Barbarin briefly spoke to them in perfect Spanish, translated into English,” she said.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” the cardinal said. “My name is Philippe Barbarin. I am a French cardinal and I come to bring you the joy of Christmas. On this Sunday of the Holy Family, the Lord wants to bless your families, your children.”

After explaining who the Pope is for the benefit of non-Catholics, he continued, “Today, it is he who greets you. I will go to every cell window and bless you. It is Pope Francis himself who blesses you.”

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Benedictine College’s mission can Transform Culture in America by modeling community in an age of incivility, spreading faith in an age of hopelessness, and committing to scholarship in a “post-truth” era. The Ex Corde Center for Catholic Media creates video and other media content to promote positive messages of faith, hope, and love while providing students with the tools, experiences, and contacts they need to enter the 21st century media world as effective communicators. Learn about the Ex Corde media fellows program.