Rector Major

Two New Salesian Shepherds for the Church – Card. Ángel Fernández Artime and Archbishop Giordano Piccinotti

The Episcopal Ordination of two eminent sons of Don Bosco, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation and Titular Archbishop-elect of Ursona, and Archbishop Giordano Piccinotti, Titular Archbishop-elect of Gradisca and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) took place in the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major this evening at 3:30 p.m.

His Eminence, Cardinal Emil Paul Tscherrig, Emeritus Apostolic Nuncio to Italy and the Republic of San Marino, conferred the Episcopal Ordinations, alongside two co-consecrators: Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero, SDB, Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco; and Mons. Lucas Van Looy, SDB, Emeritus Bishop of Ghent, Belgium.

Number of Church prelates and important dignitaries participated in the  Eucharistic celebration, the families of the newly consecrated Salesians, friends, benefactors, and members of the Salesian family, joined by special invitees from governments, the military,.

In his simple and impactful homily, Cardinal Emil Paul Tscherrig, the Principal Consecrator, shared insights with the soon-to-be-ordained bishops, affirming, "We have gathered here to celebrate one of the greatest miracles of the Church: the Apostolic Succession. Since the time of the Apostles, this succession has been transmitted through the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Episcopal Ministry has always been passed from one bishop to another, and this unbroken succession continues to this day."

Quoting Pope Francis, Cardinal Tscherrig stated, "Becoming a bishop implies a missionary choice capable of transforming everything." He emphasized that those who accept the role of shepherds in Christ's flock should learn to see people through the eyes of Christ, think like Him, and love like Him. Quoting Pope Francis once more, he affirmed, "Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life the most are those who leave the security of the shore and become excited about the mission of communicating life to others." He concluded affirming that the bishop's inheritance was not honour or power, but God alone. A good shepherd offers his life for the flock, following the example of Jesus Christ, and the newly consecrated bishops are called to emulate Him completely.

Soon after the homily, the consecration ceremony commenced with the interrogation of the candidates, followed by the invocation to the Holy Spirit and the solemn intercession of the litany of all Saints, accompanied by the choir's prayerful singing. As the consecrators performed the apostolic tradition of the imposition of hands, a sacred silence penetrated the magnificent adorned walls and roof of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. After being anointed and receiving their respective mitres, rings, and staffs, the two newly consecrated Bishops were symbolically enthroned, greeted by thunderous applause. The faithful, religious, clergy, and choir erupted in thanksgiving and joy, solemnly singing the "Te Deum." The two newly consecrated Bishops proceeded to impart their Apostolic blessings to all those present.

After Communion, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, representing the two newly consecrated Bishops, expressed his heartfelt gratitude with great enthusiasm in a Salesian spirit. He affirmed the strong communion of the Salesians with the Church and the Holy Father, which stems precisely from Don Bosco, and with great humility and conviction declared that they will continue to serve the Church, especially the poor. The final solemn blessing by the President of the Mass concluded the entire celebration, accompanied by the resonating voices singing the traditional hymn to Don Bosco, "Raise your voices…Don Bosco be with Us!"

The sacred rites of the Consecration within the Holy Eucharist bore witness to the universality of the Catholic Church. Apart from the General Councillors, several Provincials, and Superiors from the Salesian Family from around the world, the Solemn Mass had the presence and blessing of  several Cardinals, including:

H.E. Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Former Vatican Secretary of State.

H.E. Card. Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches.

H.E. Card. Lazarus You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy.

H.E. Card. Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

H.E. Card. Domenico Calcagno, President Emeritus of APSA.

H.E. Card. Giuseppe Bertello, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and the Governorate.

H.E. Card Konrad Krajewski, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

H.E. Card. Cristóbal López Romero, SDB, Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco.

H.E. Card. Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, SDB, Archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay.

H.E. Card. Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop Emeritus of Tegucigalpa.

H.E. Card. Riccardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago de Chile.