Being witnesses of the Risen Christ, Pope Francis has reminded bishops, is their primary and indispensable task. Speaking to new bishops this morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis stated this witness is required for living out their appointment and went on to reflect on four roles that bishops should fulfill.
The new bishops were in Rome participating in a special retreat for those who in the course of the last year received their consecration to the episcopate. The week-long, annual gathering is organized by the Congregation for Bishops and provides new bishops a special time dedicated to prayer and study.
The four roles the Pontiff explored are being a witness to the Good News of the Risen Christ; an educator, spiritual leader and catechist; a ‘mystagogue,’ or life-long teacher responsible for the continuous formation of the faithful; and missionary.
For the faithful who already walk with you, Francis told the bishops, “procure places and prepare tents in which the Risen Christ can reveal his splendor.” He urged them to “not spare energies to accompany them in the climb.”
In the midst of various responsibilities, the Holy Father stressed, bishops must always have joy. “Without joy,” he stressed, “Christianity deteriorates into exhaustion, pure exhaustion.”
The 78-year-old Bishop of Rome called on his fellow bishops to take care of their priests, “so that they reawaken the enchantment of God in their people, so that they always want to remain in His presence, feel nostalgic for His company, desire nothing other than to return to His presence.”
As missionary bishops, Pope Francis called on them to also seek those who do not know Jesus or have rejected him. “Go in their direction,” he said, adding in reference to the Gospel passage of Zaccheus, “Do not be afraid to invite them to come down immediately, because the Lord wishes to enter, precisely today, in their home.”
Before concluding, the Holy Father imparted his Apostolic Blessing on the bishops and upon their Churches, and wished them all peace.
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Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-address-to-new-bishops