Pope to new bishops: be witnesses, teachers, missionaries

The Vatican (Thursday, 09-10-2015, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis on Thursday received the participants in a special retreat for bishops who have received their consecration to the episcopate during the course of the last year. The annual, week-long gathering for prayer and study is organized by the Congregation for Bishops, with the cooperation this year of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

Articulated in four parts, the Holy Father’s remarks to the bishops on the occasion addressed the role of bishop as witness to the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection, as educator-spiritual leader and catechist, as life-long teacher (or “mystagogue”) responsible for the ongoing formation of the faithful, and finally as missionary.

“As pastors who are missionaries of God’s free gift of salvation,” said Pope Francis, “searching out those who do not know Jesus or even those who have always refused Him: go in their direction, stop before them and see, without fear or awe, into which trees they have climbed,” in an allusion to the story of Zacchaeus the publican (cf. Lk 19,1-10), who, having climbed a tree to get a glimpse of the passing savior, was surprised to find Our Lord inviting Himself to dinner at Zacchaeus’ home.

“Do not be afraid to invite them to come down right away,” said Pope Francis, “because the Lord wants to enter, just today, into their home.”

Source Vatican Radio

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