Monday, March 19, 2018

Three new Nuncios are ordained

At 5:00pm today, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, inside the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father, Pope Francis celebrated Mass.  During that Mass, he conferred Episcopal Ordination upon three priests: Monsignor Waldemar Stansław Sommertag, from the clergy of the Diocese of Pelplin (Poland); Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, from the clergy of the Diocese of Gozo (Malta); and Monsignor José Avelino Bettencourt, from the clergy of the Archdiocese of Ottawa (Canada).

The homily which the Holy Father shared during the Eucharistic Celebration was based on the ritual homily provided in the Italian version of the Roman Pontifical for the Ordination of Bishops, however as usual, the Pope added some of his own considerations.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the Episcopal Ordinations

Brothers and beloved sons,

It will do us well to reflect attentively upon the high ecclesial responsibility that we are about to entrust to these our brothers.  Our Lord Jesus Christ sent by the Father to redeem mankind, himself sent the twelve apostles into the world so that, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, they might proclaim the gospel to all people and gather them under one shepherd, sanctify them and lead them to salvation.

In order to perpetuate this apostolic ministry from one generation to the next, the Twelve joined themselves to other collaborators by transmitting to them through the imposition of their hands, the gift of the Spirit that they themselves had received from Christ, thus conferring upon them the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Thus, through the uninterrupted succession of bishops in the living tradition of the Church, this primary ministry and the work of Salvation continues and has developed to our times.  In the bishop, surrounded by his priests, the Lord Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal priest is himself present among you.

In fact, it is Christ who in the ministry of the Bishop continues to preach the gospel of salvation and to sanctify the believers, through the sacraments of faith.  It is Christ who, in the bishop's fatherhood draws new members to his body, which is the Church.  It is Christ who in the bishop's wisdom and prudence guides the people of God on their earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness.

Therefore, welcome with joy and gratitude these brothers of ours, who we bishops, through the imposition of our hands will include among the College of bishops.  Render them the honour that is due to Christ's ministers and to the dispensers of the mysteries of God, to whom is entrusted the testimony of the gospel and the ministry of the Spirit for our sanctification.  Remember the words Jesus spoke to his Apostles: Whoever listens to you, listens to me; whoever despises you, despises me and whoever despises me, despises the One who has sent me.

As for you, beloved brothers, chosen by the Lord, reflect upon the fact that you have been chosen from among men and for men, you have been constituted among things that concern God.  Not for other purposes.  Not to conduct business, not for worldliness, not for politics.  In fact, Bishop is the name of a service, not an honour.  Since the bishop is more competent to serve than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: The greatest among you must become like the smallest.  And the one who governs, like the one who serves.  Flee from the temptation to become princes.

Proclaim the Word on every occasion: opportune or inopportune.  Admonish, rebuke, exhort with all magnanimity and doctrine.  And through the prayers and offerings of sacrifice offered for your people, attain the fullness of Christ's holiness, the manifold riches of God.  The prayer of a bishop: the first task of every bishop.  When the widows of the Helenists went to the Apostles lamenting because no one would care for them, they gathered together and, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, they created the deaconate.  And Peter, when he explained this, what did he say?  You do this, this and that; and we will pray and proclaim the word (cf Acts 6:1-7).  The first task of a bishop is prayer.  A bishop who does not pray is not doing his homework, not fulfilling his vocation.

In the Church confided to you, be faithful custodians 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, who is known by them and who for their sakes would not hesitate to give his life.

Love with the love of a father and a brother all those who God entrusts to you.  Above all, the priests and the deacons, your collaborators in ministry.  Be close to the priests, please: so that they can find the bishop on the very day that they are looking for him, or at the very least on the day afterwards.  Be close to your priests.  But also be close to the poor, to the defenseless and to those who need hospitality and help.  Exhort the faithful to cooperate with you in their apostolic commitment and willingly listen to them.

Pay close attention to those who do not belong to the one fold of Christ, for they too have been entrusted to you in the Lord.  Remember that in the Catholic Church, gathered in the bond of charity, you are united with the College of bishops and you must carry within you solicitude for all the Churches, generously assisting those who are most in need of help.

And be vigilant, watch lovingly over the entire flock in the midst of which the Holy Spirit places you to govern the Church of God.  And do this in the name of the Father, whose image you are making present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, in whom you are made teachers, priests and pastors.  And in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church and who supports us in our weakness with divine power.

No comments: