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Vatican Basilica
Friday, 15 November 2013

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By L'Osservatore Romano , Weekly ed. in English, n. 47


Pope Francis entrusted a special task to the newly ordained Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga LC, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State, charging him with “the pastoral care of Vatican employees”. The Pope called the Spanish prelate to be for them both “a father and a brother... with true love and tenderness”.

At the ceremony — which was held on Friday afternoon, 15 November, in St Peter’s Basilica — the Pope gave the customary homily provided in the Italian edition of the Roman Pontifical for the ordination of bishops to which he added a few personal remarks. Present at the ordination were many employees of the Governorate and of the Holy See, in addition to about 600 Legionaries of Christ, who are confreres of the new Bishop.

The Bishop of Rome invited the bishop of Spain — who began serving as Secretary General on 30 August — to follow the example of the Good Shepherd “who knows his sheep, is known by them and for whom he did not hesitate to give his life”. It is the love “of a father and brother” for “all those who God entrusts to you”, Pope Francis added, “most of all for priests, deacons and your collaborators in the ministry” but also for “the poor, the defenseless, and those who are in need of acceptance and help”. This must be carried out without forgetting “to exhort the faithful to cooperate in the apostolic duty, listening to them willingly”.

The Holy Father then underlined how an episcopate is “a service, not an honour”, since the bishop’s “duty is one of service more than dominion”, according to the commandment of the Teacher: ‘let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves’”. Pope Francis invited Bishop Vérgez Alzaga to reflect on the fact that he has been chosen “among men and for men” and “charged with the things that regard God”.

In the presence of 18 cardinals, including the Dean of the College of Cardinals Angelo Sodano and 33 bishops, who concelebrated, Pope Francis invited the newly ordained Bishop to remember that “in the Catholic Church, gathered in the bond of charity, you are united to the College of Bishops and you must bear the concern for all the Churches, generously aiding those most in need”. He then asked him especially to keep watch “with great love and great mercy over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit calls you to support the Church of God”.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, presented the candidate to the Holy Father on behalf of the Church, requesting him for the episcopal ordination. Also presiding at the ordination were Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate, and Bishop Brian Farrell, Legionary of Christ and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The liturgical service was carried out by a dozen Legionaries of Christ and various family members of Bishop Vérgez Alzaga who presented the gifts at the offertory. Also concelebrating at the Rite were Cardinals De Paolis, Lajolo, Coppa, Herranz and Montezemolo. Among the concelebrants were many bishops and prelates of the Roman Curia, including Msgr Peter Bryan Wells, Assessor of the Secretariat of State. The Sistine Chapel Choir conducted by Msgr Massimo Palombella and accompanied by the choir Mater Ecclesiae sang the hymns. The Pope entered the Vatican Basilica accompanied by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household.


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