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New Auxiliary Bishop ordained

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina, Paul Spiteri Lucas, Chris Sant Fournier

Mgr Charles Scicluna has been ordained Auxiliary Bishop, succeeding the late Mgr Annetto Depasquale, who passed away last November.

The ceremony began with the reading out of an official proclamation by the Pope followed by Mgr Cremona’s homily in which he thanked the Pope for sending Mgr Scicluna “with his talents and experience - to help me and the Church in Malta on its way towards holiness”.

In a message to the new bishop, Mgr Cremona said “today, our Lord is entrusting you with what is most precious to him, that is, the human being. Our dignity stems from this. It is a great honour and a sign of God’s great trust that God first chooses the Church and then some of its members and entrusts them with the care of human persons. This is what he is entrusting you with today.”

Mgr Cremona said:

“The fullness of the ministerial priesthood which you will be receiving in your Episcopal Ordination is the mission through which the Bishop helps the faithful to live their calling as Christians.

“This means that the Bishop’s is not a personal dignity: it is given to him for others. It is a great dignity and a great responsibility which the Church entrusts primarily to Bishops in a specific place and entrusts them mainly with all the means it has available for the sanctification of Christians: namely the sacraments and the Word of God.”

The homily was followed by the formal interrogation by Mgr Cremona, before the new bishop lay prostrate on a red carpet in front of the altar as a sign of his submissiveness before God.

Each of the bishops present laid their hands on Mgr Scicluna’s head and Mgr Cremona, as lead consecrator, anointed Mgr Scicluna with the oil that officially made him bishop.

Mgr Scicluna then received the tools to carry out his new task – the ring, which symbolises the nuptial bond with the Church; the mitre, signifying his resolve to pursue holiness; and the pastoral staff or crosier, symbolising a shepherd’s crook.

As the congregation applauded the new bishop, Mgr Cremona embraced his new right hand man. Mgr Scicluna then hugged Cardinal Prospero Grech and the other bishops present for his ceremony.

In a brief message at the end of the ceremony, Mgr Scicluna promised to give his life for the people.

He thanked Mgr Cremona for his words which he said he will etch in his heart, Cardinal Prospero Grech, the other foreign and Maltese bishops, his parents, his family and the rest of the congregation.

As Auxiliary Bishop, Mgr Scicluna will be Archbishop Paul Cremona's right hand man.

His big day started as he left his Lija home with his parents for the parish church of The Transfiguration, where he stopped to say a prayer and was joined by Mgr Cremona.

Mgr Scicluna and Mgr Cremona, followed by the former’s parents, drove through Naxxar Road, Birkirkara Valley and Santa Venera, passing through St Joseph High Road and stopping at the MUSEUM chapel in Blata l-Bajda where Mgr Scicluna and Mgr Cremona said a prayer at the shrine of St George Preca and in front of the Holy Sacrament.

The two bishops then left chapel and the cortege headed to Valletta.

Mgr Scicluna and Mgr Cremona entered a packed St John’s Co-Cathedral shortly followed by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and President George Abela.

Dignitaries at St John's CoCathedral included the Chief Justice and members of the judiciary, past Presidents Eddie Fenech Adami and Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg, Opposition leader Joseph Muscat, ministers and MPs.

Prior to being nominated Auxiliary Bishop, Mgr Scicluna served as Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which was led by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope.

He had a frontline role in uncovering some of the most difficult abuse scandals that came to light in recent years.

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