Loading
Pope exhorts world's new bishops to be welcoming pastors
Pope Francis rides through St. Peter's Square after Mass on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.
Pope Francis rides through St. Peter's Square after Mass on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.
By Elise Harris
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope Francis spoke today to new bishops gathered from across the globe, encouraging them to tend their flocks – and to welcome, journey and remain with the members of their dioceses.

“I've served three bishops in the diocese of Tyler and I’m the fourth bishop of the diocese,” said Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Texas during the annual New Bishop's Conference in Rome.

“It really is a reminder of what that commitment is, a reminder that it really is all about Christ. He's the continuity of the church,” Bishop Strickland told CNA. “Bishops come and go, priests come and go, popes come and go, but Christ remains.”

The conference, which was held this year from Sept. 10 -19, is designed to provide formation and orientation for men who have been elevated to the episcopate each year.

The new bishops present participated in a private audience Thursday with Pope Francis marking the end of the event. Quoting the Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium,” the Pope reminded them that “the Bishop is a man of communion and unity, the ‘visible principle and foundation of unity.’”

The pontiff pressed the bishops to ask themselves during their daily work, “how to live the spirit of collegiality and collaboration in the Episcopate” and how “to be builders of communion and unity in the Church the Lord has entrusted” to them.

Pope Francis then offered some reflections on the first letter of Saint Peter, in which the apostle encourages the early Christians to tend the flock of God in their care willingly and eagerly, saying that the words of St. Peter “are carved on the heart!”

“They call you and establish you as Pastors not from yourselves, but from the Lord; and not to serve yourselves, but to serve the flock entrusted to you, to serve it even to the point of giving your life, like Christ, the Good Shepherd.”

If they “welcome with magnanimity” and with an open door, those who are in their care, said the Pope, “will experience the paternity of God and understand how the Church is a good mother that always loves and welcomes them.”

The Holy Father also imparted to the new bishop’s the necessity to journey with one’s flock, a journey which cannot be completed without affection for his priests and his presence among his people.

Taking to heart the Pope’s message, Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, N.D., who was appointed April 8 at the beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate, said that one of the things he’s enjoyed the most since his appointment has been “the opportunity to get around the state and to visit the different parishes, especially to get to know the priests of the diocese.”

The priests of the diocese are the ones “who obviously I work very closely, and they’re my closest collaborators,” Folda told CNA, “so I’ve really made a point to try to get to know them as much as possible.”

Pope Francis then called for Bishops to serve with humility, which he described as an austerity and focus on what is essential, saying that pastors must not have “the psychology of Princes.”

He warned of “ambitious men, men that are married to this Church, but hoping for a more beautiful or a richer” Church.

“This is a scandal!" he said, describing the longing for a bigger or better diocese as a kind of “spiritual adultery.” He cautioned the bishops not to fall into the “spirit of careerism,” which he referred to as “a cancer.”

The pontiff ended his address by encouraging those present to “remain with their flocks,” which referred to as “stability.” This stability, he said, “has two precise aspects – ‘to remain’ in the diocese, and ‘to remain’ in this diocese, without seeking change or promotion.”

In a time when travel has become increasingly easier, “the ancient law of residence hasn’t passed out of fashion,” said the Pope, citing that residence in one’s diocese is not only functional, but has deep theological roots.

“Avoid the scandal of being 'airport bishops!'” he said, “Be welcoming Pastors, journeying with your people, with affection, with mercy, with sweetness of expression and paternal firmness, with humility and discretion, being able to see your own limitations, and with a good sense of humor . . . and remain with your flock!”

In attendance at the conference were new bishops from around the world who have been appointed since September of last year, including bishops from Canada, Ireland, Germany, England, the United States, South America and the Middle East.

Tags: Pope Francis

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
25

Liturgical Calendar

October 25, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 13:1-9

Gospel
Date
10/25/14
10/24/14
10/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 7-16
Gospel:: Lk 13: 1-9

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/25/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 13:1-9

Homily
Date
10/25/14
10/24/14
10/23/14