VATICAN - "The Lord does great things through the little ones". Cardinal Tagle consecrates Father Emilio Nappa, Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, as Bishop

Monday, 30 January 2023 dicastery for evangelization   pontifical mission societies   ordinations   mission  

foto Pascale Rizk

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us". The words of the Apostle Saint Paul in the fifth chapter of the Letter to the Romans was the theme of the liturgy for the episcopal ordination of Father Emilio Nappa, celebrated on the afternoon of Saturday, January 28 in Saint Peter's Basilica.
On December 3, Pope Francis appointed Father Nappa as Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization with the position of President of the Pontifical Missionary Societies, conferring on him the title of Archbishop and assigning him the titular see of Satriano (see Fides, 3/12/2022). The episcopal motto chosen by the new Archbishop, "Caritas diffusa est", refers precisely to the quoted passage from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. "The gift of a new bishop assures us that God cares for His people", Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery, said at the beginning of his homily, who presided over the Eucharistic celebration and conferred episcopal ordination on Monsignor Nappa.
The consecration liturgy, celebrated at the Altar of the Chair, was attended by hundreds of family members, relatives, and friends (many of whom came from Campania, homeland of the new Archbishop), along with officials and employees of the Dicastery for Evangelization and more than 20 concelebrating bishops, including co-consacrants Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, and Angelo Spinillo, Bishop of Aversa.

In his homily, drawing inspiration from the readings from the Sunday liturgy (a passage from the prophet Zephaniah, a passage from Saint Paul's Letter to the Corinthians and the Gospel of the Beatitudes of Matthew), Cardinal Tagle recalled that the service of the episcopal ministry can only be fruitful by virtue of the gifts of grace, and only in humility can one "experience true bliss and true joy." Like all other human beings - the Pro-Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery acknowledged - believers in God are also tempted to seek pride, following "an illusion of greatness based on lies", which "deprives people of astonishment, gratitude and joy" and "leads to injustice, violence, destruction and unhappiness". Humility is only found "when we accept the truth about our human condition: that we are not the wisest, nor the strongest, nor the noblest in the eyes of the world," and yet "God chooses even the simple to show his wisdom and his strength". "We may be poor and sinful creatures", continued the Manila-born Cardinal, "but this does not prevent God from acting through us. And being humble, we do not boast about ourselves or glorify our name. Humility makes us rejoice and praise the Lord who does great things through the little ones". That is why "only humble people appreciate God's blessings and spread the good news of God's love and mercy". Seeking humility and "glorifying in God, rejoicing in God, exalting oneself in God", Cardinal Tagle pointed out, "is the path to our beatitude. This is our desire and our prayer for Monsignor Emilio, and for his ministry as Bishop". With good reason - added the Cardinal, addressing "Dear brother Emilio", recalling the passage from the Letter to the Romans from which his episcopal motto is taken, "you desire to serve with love. But Saint Paul will constantly remind you that this love comes from God, through the Holy Spirit. You will preach with love, not your own word, but the Word of Jesus. You will communicate, not your own power, but the grace of God in the sacraments. You will lead, shepherd and guard the community, not with your strategies, but with the love of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. You will promote mission not with your own programs, but in obedience to the risen Lord who sends all his disciples to be his witnesses throughout the earth. You will face trials and disappointments not only with human strength, but with God's gift of hope".

At the end of the celebration, Archbishop Emilio Nappa, in a brief greeting and thanksgiving speech, also referred to the hope "that does not disappoint" and the love of God "poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit", recalled in the above passage from Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans.
"The encounter with the Lord Jesus", said the Archbishop, referring to his life journey, "for me was precisely this: love and hope, transformed into a journey in the Church. As a young man," continued the Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, "I was looking for answers to the questions of life. I was not very religious, albeit a believer. And I received as a gift instead access to the source of being, which is love: God, who filled my heart. This experience later became a vocation, and it made me experience the sense of freedom, which one seeks when one is young, but also today, and which is often confused with something else". Now, having become the successor of the Apostles, the new bishop recognized the call to bear witness through his episcopal ministry "to this central truth of Christianity, that is, that God is love that gives himself, and therefore is freedom that creates new possibilities of life even where everything can become sterile. And the figure that makes this credible is the joy that comes from God's Revelation.
The Bible," the Archbishop continued, "is the promise of a future of plenitude, of full life and happiness. However, it is already present here and now, if a common destiny is shared as a people and as a Church. Because no one is a Christian by himself, and no one can be happy alone. Concluding his speech, Msgr. Nappa remembered and thanked with grateful memory the people and realities that allowed him to live "this experience of Christianity," beginning with his family and his late parish priest, Father Eduardo Barretta. "The person and the priest that I am," the Archbishop commented, "is the result of the encounters with the faces, the stories, the realities that I have met and to whom I must say thank you today". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 29/1/2023)