PHOTO ESSAY EPIPHANY CONSECRATIONS
After the consecration Mass, Benedict XVI invited the faithful, gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus, to pray for the four new bishops
At midday on January 6, Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square below. The event had been slightly delayed because of the length of the morning’s Mass, during which the Pope had consecrated four new archbishops, including Msgr. Georg Gänswein, his private secretary.
The Pope began by apologizing to the faithful for the delay: “I ordained four new bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica today, and the ceremony lasted a little longer than normal.”
He continued: “Above all, however, today we celebrate the Lord’s Epiphany, his manifestation to the peoples, when many Oriental Churches celebrate His Nativity according to the Julian calendar. This small difference, which superimposes these two events, highlights the fact that the Child, born in a humble grotto in Bethlehem, is the light of the world that guides the paths of all peoples. It is a combination that also makes us think from the perspective of faith: on the one hand, on Christmas, in the presence of Jesus, we see the faith of Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds; on the other, at Epiphany, we see the faith of the Three Wise Men who have come from the East to adore the King of the Jews.
“The Virgin Mary, along with her husband, represents the ‘lineage’ of Israel, the ‘remnant’ foretold by the prophets, from which the Messiah will spring forth.
“The Three Wise Men, on the other hand, represent the peoples, and we can also say the civilizations, cultures, and religions that are, so to speak, on the path to God, in search of His reign of peace, justice, truth, and freedom. There is first a nucleus embodied, above all, by Mary, the ‘daughter of Zion’: a nucleus of Israel, the people that knew and had faith in that God who had revealed himself to the patriarchs and in the course of history.
“This faith reaches its fulfilment in Mary, in the fullness of time. In her, who was ‘blessed because she believed,’ the Word was made flesh; God ‘appeared’ in the world. Mary’s faith becomes the first fruits and the model of faith of the Church, the People of the New Covenant. But, from the beginning, this people is universal, and we see this today in the figures of the Three Wise Men who come to Bethlehem following the light of a star and the indications given in the Sacred Scriptures.”
In conclusion, the Pope referred to the episcopal ordinations conferred that morning: “Two of the new bishops will remain here in their service of the Holy See, and the other two will depart to become papal representatives to two nations. Let us pray for each of them, for their ministry, and that the light of Christ may shine forth throughout the world.”