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Pope Francis advises new bishops to be close to poor

Audience in the Clementine Hall (Photo cropped by Vatican Media)

In his private audience at the Clementine Hall in Rome on September 19, Pope Francis urged the new bishops to be close to the poor. 

According to the Auxiliary Bishop Angelo Ademir Mezzari of São Paulo, "The Pope welcomed those present with a message, namely not to forget the need to be close to the poor, knowing that everything is interconnected and everything needs care on this planet."

Around 200 new bishops were in Rome to participate in the formation course organized by the Dicasteries for Bishops and for Eastern Churches.

The theme of the course is "Proclaiming the Gospel in the Changing Epoch following the Pandemic: The service of the bishop." 

The course was divided into two sessions due to the high number of participants and COVID-19 restrictions.

The first session took place from September 1–8 and was opened with a Mass celebrated by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The second session took place on September 12–19 at the Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum in Rome.

The meeting topped off days dedicated to 'learning' how to be bishops, the challenges to be faced, and the issues to be brought forward.

The Pope met with the bishops in a "synodal" atmosphere on Monday morning. 

Pope Francis meets with new bishops participating in the formation course organized by the Dicasteries for Bishops and for Eastern Churches (cropped. Vatican Media)

Brazilian Bishop Maurício da Silva Jardim, who will take the leadership of the Diocese of Rondonópolis-Guiratinga on October 23, said, "The speakers focused on a central theme and invited to "express itself, raise concrete issues and problems of today, such as hunger, violence, social inequality, migration, political and health crises, ethics and social issues around the world."

The new Brazilian bishops could present to the Pope and bishops environmental issues such as mining, exploitation, and illegal deforestation in the Amazon.

On September 17, Pope Francis met with a group of participating bishops from mission lands organized by the Dicastery for Evangelization.

In this audience, the Church Leader encouraged the bishops to always deepen their relationship with the Lord, their communion among bishops, and with their priests while being close to the faithful.

The Pope reminded them saying, "the importance of prayer in episcopal ministry" because if a bishop does not pray, he distances himself from God and "withers away."

The vicar apostolic of Caroní in Venezuela, Bishop Gonzalo Ontiveros, told Vatican News, "The Pope called for greater unity among bishops as "brothers in the episcopate" and to draw close to their priests, co-workers, and parish communities."

"Answer them, call them. Be attentive to their needs," the Pope said.

The Pope urged the bishops "to avoid protagonism, self-referentiality, and proselytism," which is different from "evangelization," to be carried out "in the style of Jesus." - With input from Vatican News 


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