VATICAN - “Especially in our time it is important that bishops be witnesses and teachers of holiness, capable of transmitting faithfully, by example and words, those truths that illumine man's heart and lead him to eternal life”: Cardinal Bertone’s homily at the episcopal consecration of Archbishops Vacchelli and Auza

Monday, 7 July 2008

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – In the afternoon of July 3, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone presided a Solemn Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the episcopal consecration of His Excellency Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, Titular Archbishop of Minturno, appointed Adjunct Secretary of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and His Excellency Bernardito C. Auza, Titular Archbishop of Suacia, appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Haiti. The main concelebrants accompanying Cardinal Bertone in the Mass were Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Among those present, in addition to the relatives and friends of those being ordained, was a small representation of the Latin American community in Rome, as well as officials and staff from the Missionary Dicastery of Propaganda Fides and the International Secretariat of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Recalling the words of the Preface of the Apostles, in his homily Cardinal Bertone highlighted that “it sheds light on the mission of every Bishop at the service of the Church, as visible sign of God’s holiness and faithful communicator of the truths that lead to heaven. On the foundation of the Apostles, Christ has established the Church as 'one, holy, apostolic and catholic.’” The Cardinal then reflected on the fact that “the characteristics of unity and catholicity of the episcopal ministry come forth, in a unique form, even in the diversity of the tasks that the Pope entrusts to each one of the Bishops.” Archbishop Auza, of Filipino origin, has worked in several nunciatures, in the Secretary of State, and in the Papal Representation at the United Nations in New York. Now, the Pope has chosen him as his representative in Haiti where, Cardinal Bertone said, “you will be an apostle of unity and communion, of reconciliation and peace.” Archbishop Vacchelli, of Italian origin, has a long pastoral experience working in his native Diocese of Cremona, carrying out various responsibilities prior to his 1996 appointment as Undersecretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and President of the Committe for Charitable Interventions for Developing Countries. “The pastoral and social experience that has matured with time,” the Secretary of State told Archbishop Vacchelli, “will also be useful for you in your the new task entrusted to you by His Holiness.”
After communicating the Holy Father’s greeting and felicitation to those being consecrated Archbishops and extended to all participants of the celebration, Cardinal Bertone invited all to pray, accompanying them “in this time of grace that is of great importance both for them and for the Church.” He continued, saying: “Carrying out different tasks, you – dear Archbishops – will share in the same missionary yearnings that give life to the Church. This mission is one that above all requires a constant tendency towards holiness, on the part of every Pastor. Especially in our time it is important that bishops be witnesses and teachers of holiness, capable of transmitting faithfully, by example and words, those truths that illumine man's heart and lead him to eternal life.”
The strength needed in performing this task comes from the Spirit of God, Cardinal Bertone affirmed, citing the scripture readings from the Mass: “In the consecration that you will soon be ministered through anointing, the Lord Himself will give you His Holy Spirit and make you His ‘consecrated’: and thus you will become totally His, belonging completely to Him. He Himself will act in you when you announce the Good News to the poor, when you console the afflicted, when in so many diverse ways you become witnesses of His mercy and His love.”
Cardinal Bertone later cited the Gospel reading from the day’s Mass, that describes Saint Thomas’ experience where “in the act of recognition, after having doubted, with profound humility and faith in the glorious signs of the Master’s wounds, he proclaims, ‘My Lord and my God!’” “We too should foster this same faith and live from it,” the Cardinal said. “This same faith should mark every one of our decisions and actions. This is the faith that sustained the Apostles and Bishops that, over the years, has guided the Christian people.”
At the end of his homily, the Cardinal encouraged Archbishop Bernardito and Archbishop Piergiuseppe to carry out their ministry “in communion with all the other communion with and in submission to the Successor of Peter, as guarantor of unity” because “only in this manner will you carry out an authentic service to the Church’s holiness.” (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 7/7/2008)