Francis to Newly Ordained Bishops: The Episcopate is a Service, Not An Honor

Pope Celebrates First Episcopal Ordination of His Pontificate

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On Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated the first Episcopal Ordination of his Pontificate at St. Peter’s Basilica. French Archbishop Jean-Maria Speich and Italian Archbishop Giampiero Gloder were the first ordained as Archbishops by Pope Francis.

The Gospel reading recalled Jesus’ words when he said: “Whoever wants to be great must be your servant; and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” It was followed by the Pontiff’s acceptance of the postulants with a “molto volentieri” (very gladly) and the Veni Creator was heard in Gregorian chant by the Choir of the Sistine Chapel.

During the homily, the Holy Father spoke about the “responsibility to which these, our Brothers, are called.” The Pontiff recalled that to perpetuate the apostolic ministry, the Apostles transmitted the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, — a “work of the Savior that continues and is carried out down to our times.”

Likewise, he pointed out to them that ”the Lord Jesus Christ himself is present in the Bishop” and “we are priests in eternity.” As it “is Christ that in the wisdom of the Bishop leads His people.” And he invited the faithful people to “received these Brothers with joy and gratitude.”

Francis stressed that “‘episcopate’ is the name of a service, not of an honor. “It corresponds more to the Bishop to serve than to dominate.” He also pointed out that “a Bishop who does not pray is a halfway Bishop and if he does not pray to the Lord he will end up in worldliness.”

The Holy Father encouraged the new Bishops to always follow the example of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep. He also reminded them that the love of a Bishop must be that of a father and a brother to all those that God entrusts to him, and that they must pay special attention to their presbyters and deacons who “are your collaborators.”

The Pope then asked the newly ordained bishops if they were willing to fulfill to the point of death the ministry transmitted by the Apostles, to preserve and preach the Gospel of Christ. This was followed by the imposition of hands of the Holy Father on the heads of the ordained, and afterwards that of the Cardinals and Bishops present.

With the Gospel open upon the heads of the new Bishops, the Holy Father recited the prayer of Ordination. The Pope then anointed their heads with the sacred chrism, and handed them the Gospel, the ring, the mitre and crosier: symbols of their new role as bishops.

The new Bishops, who today become part of the Episcopal College, sat in the first seats reserved for them, receiving first the embrace of peace from the Pontiff and the other Bishops.

The ordained presbyters were Archbishop  Jean-Maria Speich, of the Archdiocesan clergy of Strasbourg, France, born on June 15, 1955, ordained priest on October 9, 1982, elected Titular Archbishop of Sulci and appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana on August 17, 22013; and Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, of the diocesan clergy of Padua, Italy, born on May 15, 1958, ordained priest on June 4, 1983, elected Titular Archbishop of Telde and appointed Apostolic Nuncio  and president of the Ecclesiastical Academy  on September 21, 2013.

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For the full text of the Holy Father’s homily, go to:

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Rocío Lancho García

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