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Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Episcopal Ordination of four bishops Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Episcopal Ordination of four bishops  (Vatican Media)

Pope at Mass with Episcopal Ordinations: Watch over the flock with love

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.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis began by reflecting on the ecclesial responsibilities to which the new Bishops are called. These responsibilities include perpetuating the Apostolic Ministry of the first Apostles from generation to generation.

Unbroken succession

“The Twelve gathered together collaborators”, said the Pope, and by the laying on of hands, they “transmitted to them the gift of the Spirit received from Christ”. Through the unbroken succession of Bishops in the living tradition of the Church, continued Pope Francis, “this primary ministry has been preserved and the work of the Saviour continues and develops to our times”.

Episcopal Ordination in St. Peter's Basilica
Episcopal Ordination in St. Peter's Basilica

It is Christ

It is Christ, said the Pope, “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, he continued, “who in the wisdom and prudence of the Bishop, guides the People of God on their earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness”.

Chosen by the Lord

Addressing the new Bishops directly, the Pope told them they are “chosen by the Lord”. "Episcopate", he said, “is the name of a service, not of an honour”. The Bishop is more responsible for service than for domination.

Pope Francis also told them to announce the Word on every opportune and inopportune occasion: “admonish, reprove, exhort with all magnanimity and doctrine”, he said.

Faithful custodians

The Pope continued his advice to the new Bishops, asking them to be “faithful custodians and dispensers of the mysteries of Christ”, always following the example of the Good Shepherd, “who knows His sheep, is known by them and does not hesitate to give His life for them”.

Love the defenseless

Pope Francis said the Bishops need to love all those God entrusts to them, especially their priests and deacons but also “the poor, the defenseless and all those in need of hospitality and help”.

Watch over the flock

Finally, the Pope said they should watch over the whole flock with love. Watch, he said, “in the name of the Father, whose image you make present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, by whom you are made teachers, priests and pastors; in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church and who, by His power, sustains our weakness”.

Episcopal ordination in St. Peter's Basilica
Episcopal ordination in St. Peter's Basilica
04 October 2019, 17:06