MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A ceremony was held in Miami Sunday for seven priests promoted to monsignors, the last to be named in South Florida by recently retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The Pope made the decision to elevate the priests to monsignors a month before his retirement, according to the Archdiocese of Miami.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski described it a promotion without an increase in pay after the ceremony at St Mary Cathedral.
A total of nine local priests were honored at the service.
The chapel was filled with hundreds of the faithful honored to see their pastor recognized and their ministry linked to the Holy Father.
"To actually be part of his Holiness as the title actually says here that they are now part of his Holiness and part of the clergy so it is an honor for a priest after so many years to move up in the ranks," said Parishioner Maggie Godoy.
"It's a special honor since its not like a promotion given to anybody, it comes from the Vatican, from the Pope himself, so its a great honor," said Parishioner Alejandro Escobar.
These are the first Miami monsignors to be named under Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
"I think in honoring them we honor all of the priests in the Archdiocese and to have the pope recognize them also means he recognizes the hard work the good priests of this arch diocese are doing," said Archbishop Wenski.
The new monsignors were humbled and honored.
"We are not any better than any other priests, we are simply representatives of all the other good ones," said Monsignor Jude O'Doherty. "It's an honor that he bestowed upon us, and we are grateful to him and the archbishop for nominating us."
Monsignor Eduardo M. Barrios shared in O'Doherty's gratitude.
"I am a Jesuit priest, and I am very happy," said Barrios. "I don't think I deserve it, but I accept it with much gratitude. The significance is it helps me to grow as a priest to try to pay better service to the people of God and be more committed to my mission."
Archbishop Wenski said he submitted the priests' names for consideration three to four months ago and found out the paperwork had gone through about a month ago – just weeks before Pope Benedict's resignation.
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