In an address today to an assembly of men today who have recently been ordained to episcopal ministry in the Church, Pope Francis told the new bishops that the most important thing that they can be in their new ecclesiastical role is a welcoming pastor. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas told Catholic News Agency that the Holy Father's exhortation serves as a reminder that being a bishop means passing on the faith. “It really is a reminder of what that commitment is, a reminder that it really is all about Christ. He's the continuity of the church. Bishops come and go, priests come and go, popes come and go, but Christ remains.”
Quoting the Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium, the Holy Father told the assembled bishops that “the Bishop is a man of communion and unity, the ‘visible principle and foundation of unity.’” The Holy Father said the bishops should reflect on how to be instruments of communion and unity in the local Church the Lord has entrusted to them. The Holy Father then offered a few thoughts on the words of his first predecessor in the first letter of Peter, saying that Peter's words apply to bishops today just as when they were written.
“They call you and establish you as Pastors not from yourselves, but from the Lord; and not to serve yourselves, but to serve the flock entrusted to you, to serve it even to the point of giving your life, like Christ, the Good Shepherd.”