EPISCOPAL ORDER - Pope Francis presides over Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica and confers Episcopal Ordinations on Fr Michael Czerny SJ, and Msgrs Antoine Camilleri, Paolo Rudelli and Paolo Borgia.
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Friday, 4 October 2019
Brothers and children,
let us reflect a little on what a high ecclesial responsibility these brothers of ours are promoted. The Lord our Jesus Christ sent by the Father to redeem men sent the twelve apostles to the world, so that full of the power of the Holy Spirit they would announce the Gospel to all peoples and gather them together under one shepherd, sanctify them and lead them to salvation .
In order to perpetuate this ministry from generation to generation, the Twelve joined collaborators by transmitting to them with the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, which conferred the fullness of the sacrament of the Order. Thus, through the uninterrupted succession of bishops in the living tradition of the Church, this primary ministry has been preserved and the work of the Savior continues and develops up to our times. In the bishop surrounded by his presbyters the same Lord is present among you, eternal high priest.
It is Christ, in fact, who in the ministry of the bishop continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers, through the sacraments of faith. It is Christ who in the paternity of the bishop increases his body, which is the Church, with new members. It is Christ who in the wisdom and prudence of the bishop leads the people of God on earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness.
Accept, therefore, with joy and gratitude these brothers of ours, whom we bishops with the laying on of hands today associate with the episcopal college.
As for you, dearest brothers, elected by the Lord, reflect that you have been chosen among men and for men, you have been constituted not for yourselves, but for the things that concern God. "Episcopate" is in fact the name of a service , not of an honor, since the bishop is more competent to serve than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: "Whoever is the greatest among you, become like the least. And he who governs, as one who serves".
Announce the Word on every occasion: opportune and not opportune. Announce the true Word, not boring talk that nobody understands. Announce the Word of God. Remember that, according to Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles, the two main tasks of the bishop are prayer and the proclamation of the Word (see 6: 4); then all other administrative [tasks]. But these two things are the columns. Through prayer and the offering of sacrifice for your people, draw from the fullness of Christ's holiness the multiform riches of divine grace.
In the Church entrusted to you, be faithful guardians and dispensers of the mysteries of Christ, placed by the Father at the head of his family, always follow the example of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is known by them and has not hesitated to give them the life. Closeness to your people. The three neighborhoods of the bishop: the closeness with God in prayer - this is the first job -; the closeness to the presbyters in the presbyteral college; and closeness to the people. Do not forget that you have been taken from the flock chosen. Do not forget your roots, those who have transmitted your faith, who have given you identity. Do not deny the people of God.
Love all those whom God entrusts to you with love of father and brother. First of all, the priests and deacons, your collaborators in the ministry; but also love the poor, the defenseless and those who need hospitality and help. Encourage the faithful to cooperate in the apostolic commitment and listen to them willingly.
And be attentive to those who do not belong to the one fold of Christ, because they too were entrusted to you in the Lord. Remember that in the Catholic Church, united in the bond of charity, you are united to the College of Bishops - this would be the fourth closeness - and you must bring within you the solicitude of all the Churches, generously helping those who are most in need of help. Guard this gift that you will receive today for the laying on of the hands of all of us bishops.
Watch with love on all the flock in which the Holy Spirit places you to hold up the Church of God. Watch in the name of the Father, of whom you make the image present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, from whom you are made teachers, priests and pastors; and in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church and with his power sustains our weakness.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va