10/4/2010 5:03:00 PM Bishop's Journal: An education in the episcopacy
Welcome, New Bishops - Pope Benedict XVI poses for a photo with the newest bishops of the Catholic Church during a September meeting with those recently ordained to the episcopacy in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Photo courtesy L’Osservatore Romano Photo Service
Papal Greeting - Coadjutor Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., is greeted by Pope Benedict XVI during the meeting for new bishops. Photo courtesy L’Osservatore Romano Photo Service
Most Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M. Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton
On his recent visit to Rome, Coadjutor Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., kept a log of his experiences as part of a worldwide gathering of recently-ordained bishops in the Catholic Church. The following is Bishop O’Connell’s recap of the events that took place during his nine-day trip.
The meeting of all the new bishops of the world took place Sept. 9 through 17 on the outskirts of Rome. Well over 100 recently ordained bishops gathered together from all over the world at the invitation of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops to study and discuss the roles and responsibilities attached to Episcopal service in the Catholic Church. The United States had the largest group in attendance with 25 bishops.
Beginning with Morning Prayer and Mass celebrated in Latin each day at 7:30 a.m., the bishops participated in a vigorous schedule of lectures presented by officials of the Roman Curia.
The talks were substantial and the sessions intense, each lasting at least an hour with an additional 30 minutes for questions and observations from the bishops in attendance.
Topics included Episcopal spirituality, Episcopal governance, fraternity with and care for priests, use of the media for evangelization, relations with eastern churches, the presence of religious within the diocese and so forth. A presentation was also given by the promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on the issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
Sulpician Cardinal Marc Oulette, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presided over the daily sessions and made himself available informally to his younger brothers for conversations throughout the day.
There was a very evident good spirit among all the bishops and a genuine openness as they discussed their new roles, their dioceses and their needs.
On Sunday the bishops gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica for Mass and, afterwards, each bishop visited the tomb of St. Peter, below the main altar, for prayer and veneration. Bishops remarked that this was the most emotional and moving experience of the week.
On Monday the bishops traveled to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. It was a very happy occasion for everyone.
On Wednesday, the American bishops were invited to Villa Richardson, the home of the American Ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Miguel Diaz, for a reception.
The lectures continued throughout the week and, on Friday, the bishops gathered in language groups to focus on specific topics relevant to the various regions represented. The week ended with a reception and dinner for the American Bishops at the Pontifical North American College.