Dear brothers, I firmly believe that during this Year of Faith, God is doing something profoundly exciting in our beloved Church. With the election of Pope Francis, the Holy Spirit has given to the Universal Church a pastor who has already demonstrated to the Church and to the world that he has a humble and tender priestly heart fashioned after the heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd. But I would also suggest that Pope Francis will challenge us bishops and priests to reclaim with conviction the joy and passion which we possessed on our ordination day. Allow me to give you an example of what I mean by quoting the words the Pope Francis spoke to the Cardinals the day after his election as Bishop of Rome. The Holy Father said these words: “When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are worldly: We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but we are not disciples of the Lord.”
Dear brothers, as we lead our people through the Sacred Tridium, from the upper room of the Eucharist where the ministerial priesthood was instituted, to the shadow of the Cross on Calvary, to the wonder and amazement of the Empty Tomb, let us remember that we do so as disciples of Jesus Christ who has claimed us as his own brothers. On the day of our priestly ordination, Christ made us stewards of his sacred mysteries, committed to bringing a message of hope to a Church and a world that so desperately needs it. May you and I receive the grace to live out the gift and mystery of our priesthood from our daily celebration of the Holy Eucharist in which we encounter the Risen Christ who has called us by name to be his special friends. Amen!
Bishop Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester
Cathedral Church of of St. Paul
March 26, 2013