At 5 o’clock on Saturday in the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis conferred Episcopal Ordination on the Presbyter, Monsignor Fabio Fabene, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. A priest from the diocese of Viterbo, Bishop Fabene was born in Rome on March 12, 1959, ordained priest on May 26, 1984, and elected Titular Bishop of Acquapendente on April 8, 2014.
Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s homily in the course of the Eucharistic celebration, which is essentially the Ritual Homily foreseen in the Italian edition of the Roman Pontifical for the Ordination of Bishops.
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Beloved brothers and sons, let us reflect attentively to what a lofty ecclesial responsibility this brother of ours is promoted.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, sent by the Father to redeem men, sent in turn the Twelve Apostles to the world, so that full of the power of the Holy Spirit, they would proclaim the Gospel to all peoples, and gathering them under the one Shepherd, they would sanctify and lead them to salvation.
In order to perpetuate this apostolic ministry from generation to generation, the Twelve added to themselves collaborators, transmitting to them, with the imposition of hands, the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, which conferred 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 has been conserved and the work of the Savior continues and is developed down to our times.
Present in the midst of the Bishop surrounded by his presbyters is our Lord Jesus Christ himself, 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 the faith; it is Christ who in the paternity of the Bishop, enhances with new members his Body which is the Church; it is Christ who in the wisdom and prudence of the Bishop, leads the people of God in their earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness.
Therefore, receive with joy and gratitude this brother of ours that we Bishops, with the imposition of hands, associate today to the Episcopal College. Render him the honor due to a minister of Christ and dispenser of the mysteries of God, to whom is entrusted the witness of the Gospel and the ministry of the Spirit for sanctification. Recall Jesus’ words to the Apostles: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects Him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
As to you, Fabio, beloved brother, chosen by the Lord, reflect that you have been chosen among men and for men, you have been constituted in the things that regard God. You have been chosen from the flock: may vanity, pride and arrogance never come. And you have been constituted for men: may your attitude always be one of service. Do as Jesus did. Episcopate in fact is the name of a service, not of an honor, because it is for the Bishop to serve more than to dominate, in keeping with the Master’s commandment: “May the greatest among you become the littlest, and he who governs as one who serves.” I recommend to you that you keep present Paul’s words which we heard today: watch over yourself and watch over the people of God. This watching means to be on the lookout, to be attentive, to protect yourself from so many sins and so many worldly attitudes, and to protect the people of God from the wolves that Paul said will come.
Proclaim the Word on every opportune and inopportune occasion; admonish, reprove, exhort with all magnanimity and doctrine. And, through prayer and the offer of the Sacrifice for your people, draw from the fullness of the sanctity of Christ the manifold richness of divine grace. And to watch over the people also means to pray, to pray for the people, as Moses did, with your hands held high, that prayer of intercession, that courageous face to face prayer with the Lord for the people.
Be, in the Church entrusted to you, a faithful custodian and dispenser 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, is known by them and does not hesitate to give his life for them.
Love with the love of a father and brother all those that God entrusts to you: first of all the presbyters and deacons, your collaborators in the ministry, but also the poor, the defenseless and all those in need of hospitality and help. Exhort the faithful to cooperate in the apostolic endeavor and listen to them willingly.
Pay close attention to all those who do not belong to the one sheepfold of Christ; they have also been entrusted to you in the Lord. And pray for them.
Remember that in the Catholic Church, gathered in the bond of charity, you are joined to the College of Bishops and must bear in yourself the solicitude of all the Churches, generously helping those that are in greater need of help. I think this will be easy for you in the task that is entrusted to you in the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
Watch, watch with love over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit puts you to govern the Church of God. Watch, do not fall asleep, watch, engage in vigil, and may the Lord accompany you, may he accompany you in this watching that I entrust to you today in the name of the Father, whose image you render present; in the name of Jesus Christ his Son, who constitutes you teacher, priest and pastor; in the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church and sustains our weakness with his power.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]