At Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday morning, Pope Francis ordained two priests to the episcopate: Bishop Peter Brian Wells, named on February 13 as the new Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia; and Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, the secretary for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
In his homily, the Holy Father reminded the new Bishops that they are called to be servants to all.
Pope Francis based his homily on the sermon given in the Roman Pontifical for the Ordination of Bishops. He emphasized that when a Bishop exercises his ministry, it is Christ Himself who acts: “Christ who preaches, Christ who makes the Church, Christ who makes the Church fruitful, Christ who leads.”
The Pope reminded the Bishops that they are “servants to all,” the great and the least, always servants, always at the service of others.
“Do not forget,” he said, “that the first duty of the Bishop is prayer… the second duty, the proclamation of the Word.” Everything else follows. If a Bishop does not pray, Pope Francis said, he can do nothing.
The Pope also emphasized the importance of loving those the Lord has entrusted to their care, and especially the priests and deacons. They are the closest collaborators of the Bishop, his first “neighbour.” If the Bishop does not learn to love those closest to him, he will not be able to love everyone.
And Pope Francis called on Bishops to really look at the faithful—not obliquely, but looking them in the eye, so they can see them with the heart.
The Holy Father concluded his homily with the prayer that the Lord might accompany the new Bishops, and be close to them on the new journey that they have begun.