Vatican City, Oct 7, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Bishops from the province of New York were received by Pope John Paul II this morning on the completion of their 'ad limina' visit, who spoke to them of the bishop's "great responsibility of governing the faithful," saying that their office is one of service, not power.
The Pope recalled the words spoken during Episcopal ordination to underscore his point: "The title of Bishop is one of service, not of honor, and therefore a Bishop should strive to benefit others rather than to lord it over them. Such is the precept of the Master."
"Your immediate function as pastors," he noted, "cannot be isolated from your wider responsibility for the universal Church; as members of the College of Bishops, 'cum et sub Petro', you in fact share in solicitude for the entire people of God."
Governing "is more than mere 'administration' or the exercise of organizational skills; it is a means of building up the Kingdom of God," leading by example, and evangelizing the faithful so that they in turn can evangelize, said the Pope.