Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Liturgy of the Word

With Bishop Campbell having taken his seat and now presiding over the Diocese, Mass continued in the usual way.

The scripture readings were read by members of Bishop O'Donoghue's family. The first reading (Revelation 21:1-7) was chosen because it includes Bishop Campbell's motto; the second reading (1 Peter 5:1-4) provided some advice for leaders of the Church.

The Gospel reading (Matthew 28:16-20) proclaimed Jesus' command to preach the Gospel to all nations, a command as relevant today as it ever has been.

In his homily, Bishop Campbell spoke of the office of bishop as a visible sign of the Lord's care for His people: "The risen Lord stands powerful and active in the midst of his people, caring and providing for them as the Good Shepherd. As the Diocese of Lancaster marks another milestone in its history with the inauguration of a new bishop, I invite you to join me in giving thanks this evening to Christ who has called me to be your chief shepherd and pastor."

Speaking of the contribution made by Bishop Patrick, Bishop Michael said, "It is only right that we should acknowledge the debt we owe to those who have gone before us, and this evening I would like to thank Bishop O’Donoghue for his dedication and total commitment as Bishop of Lancaster over the last eight years. Bishop Patrick has not spared himself in thoroughgoing Episcopal service to the diocese. We thank God for his faithful ministry and wish him a well-earned retirement."

Looking beyond our current time and location, the Bishop spoke of our worldwide unity: "The bishop of the diocese, as a successor of the apostles, represents the living link with the college of bishops throughout the world, under the guidance of Peter’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, and with the universal Church. We in the diocese of Lancaster need to remember, therefore, that while we are indeed the Church of Christ in this place, we are also part of the universal Church." He also recalled the example of our local martyrs. In conclusion, the Bishop offered encouragement: "Drawing a lesson the scene on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus was fast asleep in the boat while the disciples were panic-stricken in the face of the storm, Saint Augustine of Hippo urged his hearers to waken and rouse up in faith the Christ who sleeps in their hearts. He will calm the waves and restore tranquillity. As the Diocese of Lancaster moves into a new phase in its history, it is with that same faith in the risen Christ that we do so. In our great and small efforts God is calling us to be cooperators in his work of the new creation. The One who has called us to do this will not fail us. Amen." The full text of the Bishop's homily can be found on the Diocesan Website (pdf format): click here.