Vatican City — As he ordained new apostolic nuncios for Ireland, and Georgia and Armenia on the Jan. 6 feast of Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the “wise men” who sought Christ, as a model for bishops today.
“It mattered little what this or that person, what even influential and clever people thought and said about them,” the Pope said of the Magi who journeyed from the East in search of the Messiah. He noted that their role in the Gospels gave “indications concerning the task of bishops” in the Church.
The feast day was the beginning of episcopal ministry for two new archbishops who will represent the Pope in foreign countries: Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio for Ireland; and Archbishop Marek Solczynski, nuncio to Georgia and Armenia.
During his homily at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict said the “wise men” of the Gospels should inspire bishops to place God’s truth above “human opinion.”
Their search for the infant Christ, he said, “was a question of truth itself … Hence they took upon themselves the sacrifices and the effort of a long and uncertain journey,” leading them to “the promised king” of all creation.
Like them, “the bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his heart’s unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek his face, to recognize him more and more, to be able to love him more and more.”
The Pope stressed that “only someone who actually knows God can lead others to God,” and noted further that “only someone who leads people to God leads them along the path of life.”
Thus, he said, the bishop could also be compared to the Star of Bethlehem itself, which led the wise men to Christ.
“As you are ordained bishops, you too are called to be stars of God for men, leading them along the path towards the true light, towards Christ,” he told the two candidates he would go on to ordain at the Mass.
“So let us pray to all the saints at this hour, asking them that you may always live up to this mission you have received, to show God’s light to mankind.”
Archbishop Brown spoke to Catholic News Agency after being consecrated as an archbishop, calling it a “tremendous joy, and a tremendous experience of God’s grace.”
“I’m certainly aware of my own unworthiness to be a bishop,” Ireland’s new apostolic nuncio said. “But I go forward with confidence in Our Lady and in the saints, and with a great sense of peace and joy, knowing that all things are possible with God.”
“So it’s a beautiful experience for me, and with God’s grace hopefully I’ll be able to do something good on my mission.”
The 52-year-old archbishop’s family members traveled to Rome to celebrate his ordination and pray for him.
“My father went to God about two months ago, so he wasn’t there physically, but I felt his presence spiritually,” Archbishop Brown said. “All my brothers and sisters and my mother were there, and it was a great consolation for me and I think probably for them as well.”