Pectoral cross



The pectoral cross once worn by Cardinal Cardijn is now worn by Monsignor Leon Lemmens, auxiliary bishop of Mechelen-Brussels.

According to Fr Felix Van Meerbergen, Chaplain of CCI-Belgium and Europe, before his death, Cardijn gave his cross to IYCW chaplain Fr Marcel Uylenbroeck.

Fr Uylenbroeck was Cardijn's first successor as international chaplain of the International Young Christian Workers (IYCW) movement from 1965 - 1969. 

In 1967, Pope Paul VI named him as the first secretary of the Pontifical Council for (of) the Laity. In 1972, he was named rector of Sint-Juliaan-der-Vlamingen, the Flemish church in Rome. In 1972, Fr Uylenbroeck was also named to the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Tourism.

According to the historian Andrea Riccardi, Uylenbroeck was the first choice of Pope John Paul II to replace Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens as archbishop of Malines Brussels. (Uylenbroeck had known the young Karol Wojtyla from the time of their theology studies together in Rome and also through the Pontifical Council for the Laity.) However, Monsignor Uylenbroeck who was already suffering from cancer died in October 1979.  

Before his death, Msgr Uylenbroeck gave the cross to Professor Riccardi.

In his turn Professor Riccardi gave the cross to his friend and fellow member of the Sant'Egidio community, Monsignor Leon Lemmens,  who has worn it ever since as his own episcopal cross.

Mgr Lemmens (Kerknet)

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