Pope Francis: A Bishop is called to a life of service
By Lydia O’Kane
In his Homily during Mass, on the occasion of the Episcopal Ordination of two Bishops, Pope Francis reflected on the role they were being called to carry out in the Church.
Against the backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica, he took inspiration from the twelve Apostles who were sent out into the world by Jesus so they might proclaim the Gospel to all peoples, leading them to salvation.
Gift of the Spirit
The Pope explained that “in order to perpetuate this apostolic ministry from generation to generation, the Twelve gathered together co-workers, transmitting to them through the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, which conferred the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders.”
Thus, he continued, “through the uninterrupted succession of bishops in the living tradition of the Church, this living ministry, this primary ministry, has been preserved, and the work of the Saviour continues and develops to this day.”
Chosen to serve
Welcoming the new Bishops, Guido Marini and Andrés Gabriel Ferrada Moreira with “joy and gratitude”, Pope Francis told them that they had been chosen for a life of service.
Offering his advice, the Pope told them to “proclaim the Word at every opportunity,” continue to study and be close to their flock.
“You will be the custodians of faith, of service, of charity in the Church” and for this reason, he added, you want to be close to God, mirroring his “compassion and tenderness.”
Pope Francis underlined that the first task of a bishop is to be “close to God in prayer,” urging them not to pray “like a parrot”, but to “pray with the heart.”
Their second task, the Pope said, was to be close to “other bishops,” and never speak ill of this brother.
Thirdly, he urged the bishops not to “forget that priests are your closest neighbours.”
The Pope also invited them to be available to their priests like a father.
Finally, Pope Francis underlined that it was important for bishops to be near to their flock, reminding them, that they too, were "taken from the flock."
In conclusion, the Pope prayed that these new bishops would grow on this path of closeness, imitating the Lord “because He has always been close and is always close to us.”