CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS): Pope John Paul II warned newly ordained bishops that their ministry would be particularly challenging and draining in today’s world, and he urged them to boldly proclaim the Gospel and look out for their priests.
The Pope made his remarks on September 18 to about 120 bishops ordained in recent months and participating in a week-long orientation meeting organised by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.
He also confirmed that he would release on October 16 a document on the bishop’s role and mission in the Church, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of his papal election. The document follows a 2001 special assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic.
“The pastoral mission entrusted to you is exciting, but today it is particularly difficult and tiring,” the Pope told the new bishops, who hailed from 25 countries in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. Among them was Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman.
“Our times, in fact, are characterised by bewilderment and uncertainty. Many, even among Christians, seem disoriented and without hope,” he said.
“In this context, we pastors are called to announce the Gospel and be witnesses of hope,” said the Pope, urging the bishops to deepen their trust in God and increase their “apostolic boldness”.
The Pope told the bishops to be “men of prayer” and to “consume yourselves in pastoral service”.
“Love the Church more than yourselves,” he said.