Vatican City, Mar 19, 2018 / 01:17 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis marked Monday’s Solemnity of St. Joseph by ordaining three new bishops, telling them prayer is a primary ecclesial duty, and if they do not maintain a strong spiritual life, they are not fulfilling their vocation.
“Announce the Word in every occasion: opportune and inopportune. Admonish, rebuke, exhort with all magnanimity and doctrine. And through the prayer and sacrificial offering of your people, draw from the fullness of the holiness of Christ the manifold richness of divine grace,” the Pope said March 19.
Prayer, he said, “is the first task of a bishop. A bishop who doesn’t pray does not fulfill his duty, he does not fulfill his vocation.”
Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the March 19 feast of St. Joseph, which also marks the fifth anniversary of the inauguration of his papacy.
During the ceremony, he ordained as archbishops three recently appointed nuncios, including Archbishop Waldermar Sommertag, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua; Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, papal envoy to Korea and Mongolia; and Archbishop Josè Avelino Bettencourt, the Pope’s new ambassador to Georgia and Armenia.
The pope’s brief homily for the day was taken from the section for the ordination of bishops of the Roman Pontifical.
In the homily, he said that while the three men were ordained bishops, “it is Christ who in the ministry of the bishop continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and sanctify believers through the sacraments of faith.”
“It is Christ who in the paternity of the bishop increases his body, which is the Church. It is Christ who in the wisdom and prudence of the bishop guides the people of God in the earthly pilgrimage until eternal happiness,” he said.
Francis reminded the bishops in off-the-cuff comments that they were “chosen among men and for men. You are not called for business, worldliness, or politics: the episcopate is the name of a service, not an honor, as the bishop is more competent for serving than for dominating.”
He told them to love their flock with the love of both a father and a brother, especially priests and deacons.
“Closeness to the priests, please!” he said, and encouraged them to also be close to the poor and defenseless.
“Keep vigil with love on the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit places you to govern the Church of God,” he said, and told them to do this “in the name of the Father, whose image you make present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, by whom you are made masters, priests and pastors. In the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church and with its power sustains our weakness.”