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Advice to new bishop: Trust in God and trust in Mary

Archbishop Wenski's homily at vespers for Bishop-elect Enrique Delgado

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Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily at the vespers service the evening before the ordination to the episcopacy of Miami Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Delgado. The ceremony took place Dec. 6, 2017 at St. Katharine Drexel in Weston, where Bishop Delgado served as pastor.

This evening we gather in St. Katharine Drexel Church here in Weston to celebrate our evening song of praise to our God and we will sing Mary’s Magnificat in thanksgiving for Enrique Delgado who this evening on the eve of his ordination as bishop will solemnly make his profession of faith.  We will also bless the symbols of the office he will assume tomorrow: the ring, the miter and the crosier.

As you can imagine the past several weeks has been a “roller coaster ride” of emotions for Bishop-elect Delgado. While his life has changed in ways he has yet to imagine, we thank him for having said “yes” when he received that call from the nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre informing him that Pope Francis has chosen him to be a bishop. 

Enrique, I am sure that you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all – and perhaps you still ask yourself: How did I ever become a bishop? No worry. Trust in God and trust in Mary, Queen of the Apostles. As I’ve told other newly appointed bishops, “Don’t worry.  In a few years, you’ll be looking at the rest of us bishops saying, ‘How is it that they became bishops?’”

God does not necessarily call the wisest, or the strongest or the most qualified. He often chooses those held to be weak in the eyes of this world to astound the strong. And though we know ourselves to be “unworthy servants”, we also know that the Lord demands a wholehearted – and not merely a half-hearted – response.

As Pope Francis has said, “this ministry is not sought, not requested, not bought; but, is welcomed in obedience – not to elevate oneself but to lower oneself like Jesus.”

In your ministry as bishop, you are called to be a father and a brother to all God places in your care, especially to the co-workers of the bishops, the priests and deacons; but also, be especially attentive to the poor and the weak, the immigrant and stranger – the victims of today’s disposable culture and the globalization of indifference.  May you be for them a living image of the Good Shepherd himself who came to save the least, the last and the lost.

They say that it is “lonely at the top” – people in leadership often are the target of hostility and unrealistic judgments – and the life of a bishop despite busy schedules and activities can sometimes seem lonely. Yet, we are never alone. Our friendship with the Lord nurtured in prayer must always sustain us and strengthen us as does the prayer of our faithful and our priests.

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