“It is Christ who, in the bishop's ministry, continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers, through the sacraments of the faith”, he said. “Indeed, 'episcopate' is the name of a service, not an honour. It is the bishop's responsibility to serve rather than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: 'the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves'”.
He then invited the new bishops to “proclaim the Word in every occasion, opportune or otherwise. … And through prayer and the offer of sacrifice for your people, you will draw from the fullness of Christ's holiness the many and varied riches of divine grace. Through prayer. Remember that first conflict in the Church of Jerusalem, when the bishops had so much work in looking after widows and orphans, and decided to appoint deacons. Why? To pray and preach the Word. A bishop who does not pray is a bishop who arrives only half way along the path. And if he does not pray to the Lord, he falls prey to worldliness”.
The bishop must accompany service and prayer with love. “Love, with the love of a father and of a brother, all those whom God entrusts to you. Above all, love the priests and deacons. They are your collaborators, the nearest of the near for you. Never make a priest wait: he asks for an audience? Answer immediately! Be close to them. But also love the poor, the defenceless and those who need welcome and help. Encourage the faithful to co-operate in the apostolic task and listen to them willingly”.
Finally, Francis encouraged them to pay close attention to “those who have strayed from the fold of Christ, because they too have been entrusted to you by the Lord. Pray for them. Remember that in the Catholic Church, brought together by the bond of charity, you are united with the College of bishops and must bring with you the care of all the Churches, generously assisting those most in need of help”.