Rome (Italy). On 20 April 2024, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation and Titular Archbishop of Ursona, and Msgr. Giordano Piccinotti, SDB, Titular Archbishop of Gradisca and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), received episcopal ordination at the hands of Cardinal Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus in Italy and in the Republic of San Marino, together with two co-consecrators, Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero, SDB, Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco, and Msgr. Lucas Van Looy, SDB, Bishop emeritus of Ghent, Belgium.

Many concelebrants, prelates of the Church, Salesians, and other priests, family members of the newly consecrated, members of the Salesian Family, were present at the solemn Celebration, lived with a festive spirit and great participation in prayer, including the Vicar of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister María del Rosario García Ribas, and some General Councilors in the Generalate, authorities, and special guests of governments and armed forces, friends, and benefactors. Direct Ordinations

We are gathered to celebrate one of the miracles in the Church, which is apostolic succession.” This was the beginning of Cardinal Tscherrig’s homily, emphasizing the grace and greatness of the gift of episcopal ordination, in an “uninterrupted succession” that continues to this day, as he took up the features of the Good Shepherd, from the Gospel of John (Jn 10:11-18).

“Brothers and sisters, the only force that can transform things and people, Jesus teaches in today’s Gospel dedicated to the Good Shepherd, is love. (…) It is not a feeling that claims to make everyone friends, but the love that is revealed in the grain of wheat.” And continuing, “The Good Shepherd does not remain at home but sets out on his way until he finds it. And when he finds it, he is full of joy, not because he was successful, but because a soul was saved.” Therefore, “whoever accepts to be a shepherd of the flock of Christ, must learn to see people and things with the eyes of God, think and love like Him.”

The reference to Don Bosco was not lacking. “As pastor of his flock, the Bishop is also the Father who accompanies, a guide who consoles, so that the daughters and sons of God may reach the land of the living and of eternal life. This father’s mission also implies the art of government and correction of which your Founder was a great teacher.”

The Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus concluded his homily by inviting the candidates to listen and to entrust themselves totally to the Holy Spirit, “who will make you instruments of sanctification and apostles of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation and will open people’s hearts to you (…). It is this Holy Spirit whom we wish to invoke again, so that through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, of Saint John Bosco, and of all the Saints you may be granted the grace of always being pastors according to the heart of Jesus.”

The rite of ordination continued with the commitments of the elect to the proposal of guarding the faith and exercising the ministry, the invocation to the Holy Spirit, and the solemn intercession of the litanies of all the Saints, while they were prostrated. Moving and accompanied by the absolute silence and prayer of the assembly, were then the gestures of the imposition of hands on the head of each one by the Bishops, the imposition of the Book of Gospels with the prayer of ordination, the anointing with the sacred chrism, the conferral of the Gospels, miters, rings, and pastorals. The enthronement and the embrace of peace, with which they were aggregated to the College of Bishops, was followed by the applause of those present.

At the end of the Celebration, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, on behalf of both, addressed “with great simplicity and familiarity” gratitude to God, to their families, to the Salesian Family, and to the Congregation, to all who participated in the joy of this moment. Lastly, he asked for accompaniment with prayer for their ministry of service, to continue to be close to the poorest and most sensitive to young people.

“Yesterday the heart of Mary, today the heart of Jesus: let us entrust to the hearts of Jesus and Mary our journey and service to the Church,” are the words with which Msgr. Giordano Piccinotti began his homily the next day, April 21, at the first Mass as Archbishops, in the family atmosphere of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, built by Don Bosco. Mons. Piccinotti recalled the sensations of the day before, “a very heartfelt celebration; we could feel the real presence of the Spirit, who hovered over us.”

The understandable agitation of the moment – he said – was “Salesianally” calmed at the arrival, in the litanies, of the names of Saints John Bosco, Domenico Savio, Mary Domenica Mazzarello. “Prostrate on the floor, the rhythm of the heart became more and more the rhythm of the earth, the rhythm of the heart of God. For me to be good and beautiful pastors means this: to ensure that the rhythm of our heart is aligned with the rhythm of God’s heart, to love as He loves, to suffer as He suffers, to forgive as He forgives (…) Humanity needs shepherds and not mercenaries. The pastor is nothing but the Lord’s constant concern to be close to his flock. ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing’ (Ps 22).”

He then expressed the conviction that “the pastor is such because there are sheep; it is not enough to be called (…). Don Bosco was pastor of young people, because young people needed a pastor to guide them.” Regarding young people, he quoted the words of a Spanish Salesian missionary martyr, Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández, who gave his life in Burkina Faso in 2019. “It is the young people of the world who taught me to be a Salesian and to be the person I am.” Msgr. Giordano interpreted it as follows, “They are the sheep that the Lord entrusted to me, that gave me so many joys and also concerns. They have demanded enormous sacrifices; for them I have also gotten sick; for them I have suffered and I have rejoiced, but they are the ones who have made of me what I am.”

The celebration ended with a floral homage to Mary Help of Christians and a prayer of entrustment for both, by Archbishop Piccinotti, followed by the song of the prayer composed by Don Bosco, “O Mary, Most Powerful Virgin”.

The two days, in addition to being a gift of Grace for the whole Salesian Family, made the two new Bishops feel the joy of the encounter, sincere affection and accompaniment in their new and great ministry by those who were able to be present personally, but also followed from home and from their communities, this great event of Church and family. Direct Firs Mass


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