|Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone|
The 56-year-old is a native of San Diego and grew up in a strong, inter-dependent Italian-American family, with his paternal grandparents living next door and his maternal grandparents a few miles away. During his childhood he was in constant contact with his grandparents, who spoke the old Sicilian dialect with his parents, as well as with his entire extended family on both sides. They didn’t keep every feature of life from the old country; as he says, “our generation lost the old Sicilian (Calabro-Sicilian) language”. But the family remained loyal to the traditional pieties of Sicilian Catholicism. St Joseph was the focal point of their devotions. On the feast day of Jesus’s foster father they set up an altar in their home with his statue and three loaves of bread to represent the Holy Family, which included a braided loaf of bread for Our Lady. They would stage a drama of the Holy Family coming into the home, with a young girl as Mary, an older man as Joseph and, on several occasions, the young Salvatore was in role as Jesus. The archbishop says there was never a time when he struggled with his faith or did not believe in God. He did, however, feel the stirrings of a vocation, while also feeling drawn to being a husband and father. “My main challenge in seminary was interior, in discerning if this was really my call,” he explains. “When I entered the seminary at the age of 19, in 1975, I felt strongly inclined in that direction but was not yet absolutely convinced that God was calling me to be a priest. It was when I gave my life totally to God, I felt a burden was lifted from my shoulders, and had the confirmation of my vocation to the priesthood."
At seminary he developed a keen attachment to St Peter Claver, S.J. a favourite saint whose courageous ministry to African-Americans and radical holiness has inspired him throughout his 30 years of priesthood. Now, as a member of the Church hierarchy, he continues to pray to the patron saint of slaves, for “commitment to the Church’s mission and for graces to help the poor and marginalised”.
As Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone was a seminarian in the 1970s, the obvious question is whether he inclined more to the spirit of rebellion of that time or if he held true to the Church’s time-honoured teachings. “I’m quite a law-abiding type who doesn’t have a problem with authority,” he says, “but more than that, the Church’s teachings are completely rational and made sense to me.” It was the time of the Humanae Vitae wars: did he have any problems with any of the details in the most resisted encyclical of the age? No, in fact, in 1978 he and some fellow seminarians travelled from San Diego to San Francisco so that they could attend a symposium held by the archdiocese in honour of the 10th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.
Link (here) to The Catholic Herald