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Pope to the newly ordained bishops: The episcopate is a service, not an honour

Ordaining two Vatican officials Peter Brian Wells, of the United States and Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, of Spain, as bishops, Pope Francis touched on the importance of prayer saying, “If a bishop doesn’t pray, he can do nothing.”

He also urged the newly ordained bishops to be “servants of the greatest and the smallest, but always servers.”

US Archbishop and new nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia, Peter Brian Wells was, until now, the number three man in the Vatican Secretariat of State, while Spanish Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, is the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

In his ritual homily from the Italian edition of the Roman Pontifical for the ordination of bishops, the Holy Father emphasized that when a Bishop exercises his ministry, it is Christ Himself who acts: “Christ who preaches, Christ who makes the Church, Christ who makes the Church fruitful, Christ who leads.”

Admonishing them he said, “Proclaim the Word at every occasion, opportune or otherwise. … Do not forget that the first task of the bishop is prayer. The second task is the proclamation of the World. The others follow. But the first is prayer. If a bishop does not pray, he can do nothing.

He told the bishops that their whole heart, love, prayers, sacrifice and concern should extend to the entire people especially the priests and deacons. “It makes one weep to hear that a priest has asked to speak with his bishop and the secretary tells him, ‘He has many commitments, for the next three months he cannot receive you.’ “The closest to the bishop are his priests . If you do not love the closest to you, you will not be able to love everyone.”

“Look the faithful in the eyes!” Not obliquely, but in the eyes, to see into the heart, the Pope told Archbishop Wells and Bishop Ayuso. It is the only way to see into someone’s heart and let them see into yours, he said.

Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 12 May 1963. He served as the Assessor for General Affairs of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State from 2009 to 2016.

He was ordained a priest on 12 July 1991 for the Diocese of Tulsa. He received a licentiate and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1998 and 1999.

On 9 February 2016 Wells was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa and Botswana and at the same time Titular Archbishop of Marcianopolis by Pope Francis.

Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso, was born on 17th June 1952 in Seville, Spain and ordained a priest on 20th Sept 1980. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Luperciana on 29th Jan 2016. He has been secretary of the council for inter-religious dialogue since 2012.

In addition to a degree from Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, he has more than 20 years of pastoral experience in Egypt and Sudan.



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