Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homily of Archbishop Charles J. Brown, Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland for the Ordination of Bishop William Crean

St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Sunday 27th January 2013

“Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him” (Luke 4:20).

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we have just seen a scroll unrolled, and we have listened as it was read, informing us that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has named Canon William Crean as Bishop of the Diocese of Cloyne.  And now the eyes of all of us are fixed on a priest sitting here with us in this magnificent and historic Cathedral, just as the eyes of all in the synagogue in Galilee that day were fixed on Jesus of 4:18).  Indeed, the Spirit of God, working in and through the Church, as discerned in prayer by the Holy Father, has chosen him for this mission.
Nazareth.  And the words of the prophet Isaiah, read by the Lord in the synagogue, apply as well to the priest sitting in our midst: “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me” (Luke

For that reason, today is a day of immense joy for the Diocese of Cloyne and indeed for the Catholic Church in all of Ireland; a new Bishop to lead the Church in Cloyne begins his ministry today, following upon the ministry of Bishop John Magee.  On behalf of the Holy Father, I would like to thank in a special way Archbishop Dermot Clifford for his generous and tireless work as Apostolic Administrator over these last three and a half years.

The joy we feel today underlies our experience of the liturgy.  The normal rhythm of the celebration of Mass is interrupted, as it were, by the Rite of Ordination, and that interruption has already begun, even before the reading of the scroll from the Holy Father.  It began with the Church’s calling upon the Holy and live-giving Spirit of God, “Come creator Spirit,” in the words of the ancient liturgical hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, a sung prayer in which Church asks the Spirit of the Lord come upon Canon Crean with fire, with love, with spiritual anointing, so that enemy of our souls may be driven away.  The Church entrusts herself to the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The very first verses of the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, speak about how the Spirit of God hovered over the formless waters (cf. Gen 1:2), before there was anything at all.  That presence of the power of God was the prelude to the work of creation, even before God said “let there be light.”  That same Spirit of God overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary, and God became man, the Word became flesh, as a tiny and defenceless child in her womb. It is that Holy and creative Spirit of God, which makes all things new, that now comes upon a man, a priest, our brother and our friend, and makes him something new: an apostle, a shepherd, a Bishop of Christ’s Church.

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