To you, Bishop Peter Kwaku Atuahene, is entrusted the mission of bringing the light of Christ to the Ghanaian Diocese of Goaso, of which you are the first Bishop.


You, Bishop Filippo Strofaldi, will take it instead to the Italian Diocese of Ischia.


And you, Bishop Wiktor Skworc, will spread it in Diocese of Tarnów, Poland.


The Church calls you, Bishop Franco Dalla Valle, to spread the light of the Gospel as the first Bishop of Juína, Brazil.


She sends you, Bishop Angelito R. Lampon, to fulfil your missionary vocation in Jolo, the Philippines, as successor of your brother, the late Bishop Benjamin de Jesus, barbarously killed 11 months ago near the cathedral.


You, Bishop Tomislav Koljatic Maroevic, will assist in the pastoral mission of the Archbishop of Concepción, Chile, as his Auxiliary.


And you, Bishop Francesco Saverio Salerno, as Secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, will continue your work of service to the Apostolic See in the administrative field.


To each of you, dear brothers, goes my warm embrace, with the assurance of a remembrance in my prayer and with a special blessing, which will always accompany you in your ecclesial service.


4. Jerusalem, behold the day of your epiphany! The Magi from the East, who were the first to recognize your Light, offer their gifts to you, Redeemer of the world. They present them to you who are God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; to you, through whom all things were made; to you, who became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, taking your body from the Virgin Mary.


The eyes of the Magi truly saw you. Today our eyes see you again, as they gaze on the mysterium of holy Epiphany.


“Arise, shine, Jerusalem; for your light has come” (Isaiah 60:1).





6 January 1998



1. Today the Church is celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord, as she recalls the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem, following the star. Today we contemplate the “manifestation” of Christ, who in the story of the Magi is revealed as the One God sent into the world to bring salvation to people of every nation, language and culture. He brings this mission to fulfilment by his Death and Resurrection, confirming that he is the authentic King of justice and peace. Christ hands on to the Church the very mission he received from the Father: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21), the Risen One says to the Apostles; and, with the symbolic gesture of breathing on them, he adds: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). In this year dedicated especially to the Holy Spirit, how can we fail to stress that it is precisely the Spirit who is the principal agent of the Church's mission (cf. Redemptoris missio, n. 21)? Thus it was for the Apostles at Pentecost; thus it was down the ages for Christ’s disciples, whom the Spirit made witnesses and prophets, instilling in them the courage to transmit honestly to others faith in Jesus, true man and true God. Today too, under the Spirit’s action, the faith is definitely open to the nations, and the witness to Christ is spreading to the very ends of the earth.


2. It is in this perspective that this year too, on the Solemnity of Epiphany, I have had the joy of conferring episcopal ordination on several priests, nine to be precise, during the solemn Eucharistic celebration which has just ended in St Peter’s Basilica. I invoked the Holy Spirit on them so that, like the Apostles, they will be courageous heralds of the Gospel and wise and faithful leaders of God’s People. I now entrust them to your prayers as well, as I give thanks with you to the Lord, who continually gives his Church new Pastors. The new evangelization is an immense field. “Our own time, with humanity on the move and in continual search, demands a resurgence of the Church's missionary activity” (Redemptoris missio, n. 30).


3. Let us implore the Blessed Virgin always to help the Church in fulfilling her mission. We call on her with a particular thought for our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches, many of whom are celebrating the Lord’s Birth today. We offer them our heartfelt wishes for a Holy Christmas. This wish is also extended to all other Christians of the various traditions and confessions throughout the world. May the holy Mother of God help us on our way to full communion among all Christ’s disciples, so that the proclamation of the Gospel to the generations of the new millennium may be ever more effective.



Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Wednesday, 6 January 1999



Dear Brothers and Sisters,


1. The Eucharistic celebration during which I consecrated nine Bishop ended a short while ago in St Peter's Basilica. This inspiring rite has been held for several years now on the day of Epiphany, which recalls the manifestation of Christ to all nations, represented by the Magi who came to Bethlehem from the East.


Christ is the light of the world who illumines every individual and all peoples: this is the message of today's solemnity, a message which is entrusted first of all to Bishops, who from generation to generation have received the mandate given by the risen Christ to his Apostles: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).


2. This missionary mandate is for all Christ's disciples. As the international community prepares to cross the threshold of the third millennium and looks with concern at the shadows still marking its path, the Church "ardently desires that the light of Christ will illumine all men and women" (Lumen gentium, n. 1), and for this reason she increases her efforts to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (cf. ibid.).


Humanity needs Christ: his Word of salvation, his consoling presence and his love that makes all things new. The world expects a brave and faithful witness from Christians.


Let us pray that every believer will have a growing missionary sense and there will be a greater number of those who in every corner of the world devote their energies to the Gospel cause. I am thinking in particular of the first lands to be evangelized and of all who are not afraid to face the risks and dangers of bringing them the Word of God; I am also thinking of those who, despite great physical and moral suffering, generously offer their lives to the Lord to contribute to his mysterious plan of salvation.


3. Dear brothers and sisters, as we joyfully thank the heavenly Father for the gift of these new Bishops, may our prayerful remembrance extend to the whole ecclesial community, sent by Jesus to evangelize all nations: may the light of the Redeemer always shine brightly upon its face.

We ask this through the intercession of Blessed Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Apostles. May she, who showed the Child Jesus to the Magi in Bethlehem, help us to proclaim and bear witness to the Good News of God's merciful love to the people of our time.



After reciting the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the many pilgrims in St Peter's Square, particularly those participating in "Viva la Befana", a folkloric pageant commemorating Epiphany and the "Befana", a good witch who brings treats to Italian children on this day.


I extend a warm welcome to the pilgrims present, with a special thought for all the relatives, friends and acquaintances who have come for the ordination of the new Bishops.


I also greet those who have organized and are performing in the historical-folkloric pageant "Viva la Befana", whose motifs this year have been inspired by the regions of Valle del Tevere and Parco di Vejo, particularly by the town of Sacrofano. May these popular traditions always keep alive the human and religious values on which our communities are based.


Happy New Year and "buona Befana"!



 Thursday 6 January 2000 



1. "Arise, shine out Jerusalem, for your light has come. The glory of the Lord is rising on you" (Isaiah 60: 1).


The prophet Isaiah turns his gaze to the future. He is not looking so much at the secular future, but, enlightened by the Spirit, he directs his gaze to the fullness of time, to the fulfilment of God's plan in the messianic age.


The prediction uttered by the prophet concerns the Holy City, which he sees brightly shining:  "Though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples, above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears" (Isaiah 60: 2). This is exactly what happened with the incarnation of the Word of God. With him "the true light that enlightens every man came into the world" (John 1: 9). From now on everyone's destiny will be decided by whether he accepts or rejects this light:  for the life of men is found in him (cf. John 1: 4).


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8 February 2015