The Prefect of the Roman Congregation for Worship and the Order of the Sacraments, Robert Cardinal Sarah, supports the novena "Marie qui fortifie les évêques" published by the French publisher Life editions, literally "Mary, who strengthens the bishops" "Mary, strengthening the bishops". Cardinal Sarah calls on the faithful to help prayerfully with their pastors, especially in these difficult times.
The imprimatur for the publication of the novena was given by Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, Lescar et Oloron. The cardinal from Guinea refers to St. Paul, who in a few words expressed what the apostolic ministry of the bishop is:
"As servants of Christ, we should be considered and administerers of the Mysteries of God" (1 Cor 4: 1).
On the day of his episcopal consecration, the new bishop is turned upside down by the Gospel who has just been anointed with the christening oil. He receives a ring as a sign of his apostolic authority, which he always has to bear as an expression of the special, permanent and final bond and his unity with the Church
In the middle of the priesthood, the new bishop, as successor to the apostles, also wears the miter. It is the symbol of his supreme pastoral responsibility in the service of the people of God, with that very special holiness of the shepherd offered as a sacrifice for the salvation of souls. In prayer, each priest prays for the bishop every day. The faithful should also pray for their bishops and for all the bishops and ask the Lord to shape them on the model of great bishops and intercessors, such as St. Augustine, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales.
Finally, the new bishop receives the pastor's staff of the shepherd, because from now on his whole life shall serve the service and salvation of the souls entrusted to him by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to guide them to the "green pastures" as it is described in Psalm 22, on which the grace which springs from the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ springs forth like living water.
"We understand at once that the episcopate is a heavy burden requiring untiring pastoral care ... a burden that can cause great fatigue, especially spiritually. Before serious decisions have to be made, the bishop is alone before God, which is why on certain days he can feel a very heavy and indescribable loneliness. The task of the bishops is therefore immense: in the West because of the complex situations of de-Christianization (...) "
"Above all, there are many bishops who live in real emergencies: material distress, sometimes with dioceses where misery reigns, and of course moral distress in all the countries where Christians are maltreated or even persecuted because of their faith. This is especially true of the countries under the rule of Islamic law and totalitarian communism.
"The bishop finds great comfort and strength in the prayer of his people, which rises like a pleasant fragrance to the throne of God. Pray for the one who has been commissioned to lead the people of God, true to the spirit of wisdom and the abundance of divine graces, faithful to the duties, fulfilling g his episcopal ministry in the present context of a Church plagued by persecution and the pains of relativism and indifference. The initiative of the "Novena Maria,” which strengthens the bishops, not only seems to me to be excellent, but indispensable. It reveals the intimate and inseparable union of the shepherd and the Christian people in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“May the Mother of the Church, Mother of the Believers and Shepherds, help us, enlighten us, guide us and lead us to the Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins! Because she was the first disciple of our Redeemer, the Virgin Mary, Redemptoris Mater - the Mother of the Redeemer - teaches us in the meditative prayer of the Rosary to listen to Him and trust Him despite all obstacles. She teaches us to pray to Jesus, her beloved Son, gradually to enter into His familiarity and to fully love and serve Him humbly.
“I wholeheartedly bless this initiative in trusting Our Lady, Mother of the Church, whom Holy Bishop Charles Borromeo has called as 'Our Lady of Good Counsel'. "
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: Riposte Catholique
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org