(Pagani, Italy) On Saturday, November 18, 2023, the community in Pagani welcomed Msgr Alfonso Amarante CSSR, who was ordained bishop several weeks ago. He presided over the Eucharist at Sant’Alphonsus Basilica, with the participation of Msgr Giuseppe Giudice, bishop of the diocese of Nocera-Sarno, and Msgr Antonio De Luca CSSR, bishop of Teggiano-Policastro. Together with many Redemptorist confreres and faithful, they celebrated Pope Francis’ decision to appoint Father Alfonso Amarante as archbishop and Rector Magnificus of the Lateran University in Rome.
“The power in the Church of bishops is that of service and, above all, it is the care of God’s flock that He entrusts to them”. With these words, the Superior of the Redemptorist community of Pagani, Father Gennaro Sorrentino, welcomed Archbishop Amarante to the Basilica on Saturday, November 18.
At the beginning of the Eucharistic concelebration, Father Sorrentino presented him with a crozier as a gift on behalf of the parish, quoting St Ambrose, saying: ‘the crozier must be: at the top, curved to gather the lost; in the middle, straight to lead the weak; at the bottom, pointed to spur on the lazy’.
Hundreds of faithful packed the Basilica of St Alphonsus to greet Fr Alfonso Vincenzo Amarante, Redentorist, who was appointed Rector Magnificus of the Lateran University and elevated to archepiscopal dignity by Pope Francis, precisely on the liturgical solemnity of St Alphonsus on August 1, 2023.
Father Alfonso was born in Pagani. He took steps in the faith in this parish community in the shadow of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. Here, in a journey of discernment, supported by many, he chose to consecrate himself to the Lord through the evangelical counsels and finally ordained a priest. He began to take his steps as a missionary and academic.
The joy that the Holy Father Pope Francis thought of a Redemptorist for such an important service did not leave us for a moment. A recognition not only of Father Amarante’s work over the years as President of the Pontifical Alphonsian Academy but also that a son of Saint Alphonsus has been chosen to lead the Pope’s University.
The celebration on Saturday, November 18, was enveloped in an atmosphere of festivity and joy but also much emotion, with the bishop of our diocese, Monsignor Giuseppe Giudice and the Redemptorist bishop of Teggiano-Policastro, Monsignor Antonio De Luca, concelebrating.
Present in the Basilica were not only Redemptorist priests from neighbouring communities and priests from the diocese of Nocera-Sarno but also Bishop Amarante’s father, mother and family, together with many civil and military authorities and a countless choir of friends.
The Provincial of the Redemptorists, Father Fiore Serafino, at the end of the Mass, in greeting Msgr Amarante, quoted St Alphonsus from his reflections for bishops: “Every bishop in receiving the mitre bears great burdens on his conscience, so that if he wants to save himself he must resolve to embrace a life of neither ease nor rest, but a life of crosses of hardship and toil”.
We are sure that Bishop Amarante, called to the mission of governing and shepherding the flock of God, will know how to draw from the total and unconditional love of Christ the Lord the strength that flows from the redeeming death of the Son of God.
Fr Gennaro Sorrentino CSSR