Vatican City, Oct 17, 2021 / 05:21 am (CNA).
On Sunday, Pope Francis consecrated two new bishops for the Catholic Church in St. Peter’s Basilica: Bishop Guido Marini of Tortona, Italy, and Bishop Andrés Gabriel Ferrada Moreira, secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy.
During the Mass, Pope Francis reminded the bishops-elect to always be close to God, their brother bishops, priests, and the People of God.
Two of the most important things a Catholic bishop must do are pray and announce the Gospel, the pope said in impromptu comments during the homily Oct. 17.
“The first task of the bishop is to pray,” he said, “and not like a parrot, to pray with the heart, to pray.”
Do not make excuses about not having time to pray, he added. “Remove the other things, because praying is the bishop’s first duty.”
Pope Francis also advised the bishops-elect to go out of their way to make time for their priests: “If you learn that a priest has called you, call him the same day or the day after. And with this he will know that he has a father.”
“May the Lord make you grow on this path of closeness, in this way you will better imitate the Lord, because he has always been close and is always close to us, and with his closeness, which is a compassionate and tender closeness, he carries us forward,” Francis concluded his homily. “And may Our Lady watch over you.”
During the consecration, the bishops-elect promised to preach the gospel with faithfulness and perseverance, to protect the deposit of faith, to care for Catholics as a father, to be welcoming and merciful to the poor, to obey the pope, to pray tirelessly, and “to go in search of the lost sheep to bring them back to the fold of Christ.”
Marini and Ferrada then prostrated themselves on the ground while the Litany of Saints was sung.
Afterward, Pope Francis laid his hands on each of the men as they knelt in front of him. Other bishops also laid their hands on the heads of the bishops-elect.
An open Book of the Gospels was held over their heads while Pope Francis said the prayer of consecration.
The new bishops each received the miter and crosier, as well as a ring with the image of a shepherd carrying a lamb, which they will wear on the third finger of their right hands.
Bishop Guido Marini, 56, was the Vatican’s head master of ceremonies for papal liturgies for 14 years. On Aug. 29, Pope Francis named him to lead the Diocese of Tortona, which is in northern Italy not far from Marini’s hometown of Genoa.
Bishop Andrés Gabriel Ferrada, 52, is from Chile’s capital city, Santiago. He was named the titular archbishop of Tiburnia in honor of his new position as secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.