At Saint John Lateran cathedral in Rome, Pope Francis ordained Monsignor Angelo De Donatis as an auxiliary bishop, encouraging the new prelate in off-the-cuff remarks to be an example of God's mercy.
“Near the beginning of the Year of Mercy, I ask you — as a brother — to be merciful,” Pope Francis told the new bishop during his homily Nov. 9.
“The Church and the world need so much mercy. You teach priests, seminarians the way of mercy, with words, yes, but above all with your attitude,” he said. “The mercy of the Father who always receives, there is always place in his heart, never chase anyone away.”
Bishop De Donatis previously served as pastor of Saint Mark the Evangelist parish in Rome. Saint John Lateran is known as the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, and Pope Francis celebrated the feast of the dedication of the church, along with the bishop's ordination.
The Pope made his impromptu comments as his jubilee Year of Mercy, announced earlier this year, is set to kick off next month. The jubilee, also called a Holy Year, will open this year on Dec. 8 — the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception — and will close Nov. 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
It will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. The jubilee will be organized by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
In addition to his off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis also based his homily on a specific pontifical text which outlines the role of a bishop.
“In the person of the bishop, with his priests around him, Jesus Christ, the Lord, who became High Priest for ever, is present among you,” the Pope said. “Through the ministry of the bishop, Christ himself continues to proclaim the Gospel and to confer the mysteries of faith on those who believe.”
“Through the fatherly action of the bishop, Christ adds new members to his body,” he said. “Through the bishop's wisdom and prudence, Christ guides you in your earthly pilgrimage toward eternal happiness.”