Ordenación episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández Foto: Aica

Posted On 2023-08-13 In Church - Francis - Movements, Covenant Life

He has anointed me, today! He has sent me…

ARGENTINA, Fr. Darío Gatti •

The bells are ringing, there is a celebration. It is 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 4, 2023, a bright sunny day in a mild winter. Although the sun has already set, the night will be bright and radiant, and not because of the moon, which is also strikingly bright on this day. The hour heralds a great joy that comes to us in the city of Rosario and in the Archdiocese of Mary, Our Lady and Queen of the Rosary, in the year of the 250th anniversary of her blessed presence, the “Hometown of Messi”, the “Cradle of the National Flag” and so many other beautiful and difficult things of which I wrote last.

The bells are ringing the “entrance procession” of the liturgy of the Mass to begin a beautiful celebration. With this note, I propose that we live it together, you and I, the participants in this celebration, as a journey, almost in real time, and from the point of view of someone who is participating in the ritual as it is happening; someone who is sharing in images and words a post, a blog, a report that reflects something of what was lived and celebrated.

With the live broadcast of the episcopal ordination of Father Ernesto José Fernández, priest of this church in Rosario, I want to share with you, step by step, a celebration that, thanks to new technologies, transcends the limits of time and place. Experience it…24 years have passed since the last episcopal ordination here in Rosario…and this celebration even has a Schoenstatt son as its protagonist, “in the shadow of the Shrine”.We are celebrating. Everything is embrace and encounter

A large crowd of thousands of people who are present in person and through the live transmission. Many brothers and sisters from the parishes and from the large Schoenstatt Family, Sisters of Mary, couples, missionaries of the Campaign … and so many more, like you now, from here. The chosen church, the parish of “Mary, Help of Christians” of the Salesian Community, is a “beautiful place and a great shrine” that conveys in every way the warmth and intimacy of a celebration…In the front row on the right, Doña Teresa, Ernesto’s mother, his siblings Paula and Mauricio, and other relatives and friends….

Ordenación episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández - Foto: Aica

We celebrate because we are one big family

How can we not rejoice, how can we not share it? Some time ago, when we were preparing for this feast day, we also published details about his coat of arms and his episcopal motto. Today I do it in the first person with these echoes, because apart from the fact that Ernesto is a priest of our presbyterate, apart from the fact that we share the joy of being allies of our Blessed Mother and disciples of our Father and Founder, Joseph Kentenich, whose priestly paternity identifies us and which we want to reflect, we are also course brothers, because we both belong to the community of the Secular Institute “Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests”.

Now we see him together with two other course brothers, priests Pedro and Roberto, who not only assist him in the celebration, but also represent this great priestly family. From the Schoenstatt Fathers and the Priests’ Federation, Father Pablo Pérez and the Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata, Jorge González, are participting. Our confreres José Plaza from Chile, Regional Rector of the Region of “Nuevo Belén”, the southern states of Latin America, and Alejandro Zelaya from Buenos Aires, Rector of Argentina, with Fr. Sergio Eichenberger, another confrere, are participating, so that our General Rector Christian Löhr and his Council are present, spiritually united from the Original Shrine, along with so many other brothers from all over the world, and also from heaven. All in a celebratory mood!

Ordenación episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández

We celebrate and everything is light and life

Because “the Spirit of the Lord” is upon us with the gift of his gifts and his consecration for a new and more intense service and mission to his people. After the Liturgy of the Word and the homily of the main celebrant, Archbishop Eduardo Eliseo Martín of Rosario, we are invited to invoke the presence and consecrating action of the Holy Spirit.

Ernesto is introduced to the congregation, and the papal mandate is read, which, by decision of Pope Francis, makes this consecration possible. At the end of the reading, an applause of joy and gratitude resounds. The candidate is asked if he accepts the ordination and makes a promise to be faithful for life to this vocation and the ministry to which he is called. As he prostrates himself as a sign of his humility, we all invoke the saints with the Litany, so that the whole Church may join in celebration and participation.

Ordenación episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández

Episcopal ordination of Ernesto Fernández – Photo by Fr. Darío Gatti

We celebrate because the Spirit descends with his joyful anointing

Ordenación Episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández

And this brings us to the main part of the ordination ritual. Through the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration, Ernesto will forever be a servant of Jesus and successor of the Apostles. After the anointing with the holy chrism, he receives the other episcopal insignia that clothe and distinguish the newly consecrated. A not insignificant detail and an interesting fact is that Ernesto will be the first Argentinean bishop to come from a secular institute; he belongs to our Schoenstatt community, is a member of the clergy of Rosario. As a Schoenstatt Movement, we already have several bishops who come from the diocesan clergy, and others from the community of Schoenstatt Fathers… Another gift!

The Auxiliary Bishop gives him: the “Book of the Gospels” so that he can proclaim with joy the saving Word of Jesus; the “Bishop’s Ring” so that Ernesto, following the example of Jesus who gave his life for his bride, the Church, can also give himself with all his love; the “Solideo”, which reminds him to always be a servant of the brothers under the Father’s kind gaze and to live this in simplicity and paternal humility, and the “Mitre”, which marks him as a preacher of the Gospel and teacher of the faith. He also receives the “shepherd’s staff” to guide and accompany the holy and faithful people in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, conveying firmness and tenderness, patience, and mercy.

“He sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the wounded hearts, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to proclaim a year of grace from the Lord.”

We celebrate, “Today the scripture you have just heard has been fulfilled”

The celebration continues with the “greeting of peace” exchanged by the other bishops present with the newly consecrated. Then, as is customary at Mass, the celebration continues with the offering of the gifts, which in this case are carried to the altar by his mother and relatives. Each moment is beautifully accompanied by a large choir that animates the assembly to solemn and festive prayer. The new bishop now concelebrates at the altar, along with the president of the congregation and other concelebrants.

Ordenación Episcopal Mons. Ernesto Fernández

Today he sent me… and the feast continues in all hearts

Ordenación Episcopal Mons. Ernesto FernándezAfter Communion, as always, a silent and profound thanksgiving. Before the final blessing and “farewell”, Auxiliary Bishop Ernesto walks through the nave of the church to greet and bless the grateful congregation, and then addresses a few words of thanksgiving. He reads them, you can feel his emotion and nervousness, there are also a few tears …

“For he clothes me in garments of salvation, / he wraps me in the mantle of righteousness, as a bridegroom festoons himself / and as a bride puts on her jewels…”

Praise be to God, “Divine Family of the Trinity,” who in His Providence gives us this great reason to celebrate. Praise be to you, Mary, Mother and Queen of the Rosary! Mater Ter Admirabilis, and her faithful spouse, St. Joseph, Father and Protector, because we may experience not only difficult moments of wounds and purification, painful mysteries longing for Easter and the glorious Resurrection, but also the blessed feast, mysteries of joy and light that make us disciples and missionaries of peace and blessing, rosary of hearts and life, because we are sent as witnesses of so many miracles.

Blessed is the Church, holy and sinful, “family of God in the world”, which calls us in the spirit of “Belmonte” (Shrine of Rome) to be soul of a new world. And our Father and Founder certainly rejoices that today another of his spiritual sons is called to serve and shepherd in this spirit, one of the Schoenstatt Family, a new community called to be the “heart of the Church”.

So much for some of my words and images to share with you, my great family, which celebrates and shares so many gifts. May the same joy that moves me lead you to bear witness to this joy, to this fire, with words and deeds.

Our feast continues, “I am full of joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.”

I greet and bless you, united in covenant and mission, near the Shrine of the Holy Trinity, with Mary of the Rosary, Heart of the Church, Archdiocese of Rosario, Argentina.
Fr. Darío Gustavo Gatti, ISSDSch

Ordenación episcopal

Photo: Archdiocese of Rosario

Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org

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