(Baltimore, USA) The episcopal ordination of Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski, C.Ss.R.at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland. The lives and spirituality of the Redemptorists were woven into the ordination Mass for Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski, C.Ss.R., a member of the international religious order whose founder told his confrères they should resist honors and any higher episcopal roles.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore referred to St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the order, who was surprised and distressed when Pope Clement XIII named him a bishop in 1762.
“I know that you shared St. Alphonsus’ surprise and hesitancy on being named by Pope Francis as auxiliary bishop of Baltimore,” the archbishop said in his homily just before he laid hands on and ordained Bishop Lewandowski. “I, however, had no hesitancy in recommending you to Pope Francis, for I have seen firsthand that you are a true son of St. Alphonsus Liguori in your missionary zeal and your practical pastoral love for those you serve.”
In the Mass Aug. 18 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, the archbishop also recalled St. John Neumann, another Redemptorist, who was ordained to the episcopate a few miles south of the cathedral at St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore.
After the ordination rite, Archbishop Lori led the new bishop to a chair in the sanctuary that had been used for Bishop Neumann’s ordination in 1852 when he became bishop of Philadelphia.
The archbishop focused on the three-fold role of a bishop to teach, sanctify and shepherd, “a ministry you will share with me and my brother bishops and priests and indeed the whole local church.”
He noted that Bishop Lewandowski will be sent to God’s people as a bishop and teacher.
“Like St. Alphonsus or St. John Neumann, whose mission fields constantly expanded, you will bring the Gospel not only to the spiritual family of your parishes, but indeed to the highways and byways of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and beyond.
Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski, C.Ss.R., holds the proclamation signed by Pope Francis elevating him to the office of bishop during his Aug. 18 episcopal ordination at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.
“Your preaching will be addressed to everyone without exception, but will resonate in a special way among immigrants struggling to make their way, among those who mourn over their separation from family members and loved ones, among those in economic distress and those who are especially susceptible to illness, among those who are victims of xenophobia and racism,” the archbishop said. “As a Redemptorist, you will awaken in us a newfound love of Jesus, our Redeemer, and call us to a way of life that befits anyone who would be a true missionary disciple.”
Archbishop Lori said a bishop’s responsibility for sanctifying is closely tied to the Eucharist, devotion to which St. John Neumann promoted. He said that as bishop of Philadelphia the future saint “was described as ‘a human dynamo’ – a description that many would say applies to you, Bishop Bruce, as much as to him.”
As shepherds, both St. Alphonsus and St. John Neumann brought the mind and heart of Christ to new believers and drawing people back to the faith and had a special love for the poor.
“It is this kind of shepherding, Bishop Bruce, which is so necessary in our times,” the archbishop said. “That is why Pope Francis urges bishops and priests not to remain in our comfort zone but also to be on the move, encountering and accompanying the people we serve, uniting them to the Lord’s one flock and leading them to the church’s eucharistic heart.”
The archbishop encouraged Bishop Lewandowski to entrust his ministry to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, an icon of which was entrusted to the Redemptorists in 1866 by Pope Pius IX, who encouraged the order to make her known throughout the world. An icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was present for the Mass in front of the ambo from which the Scripture was proclaimed.
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