RMG – First Thanksgiving Mass of the Newly Ordained Salesian Archbishops at Sacred Heart Basilica

21 April 2024

(ANS - Rome) - The Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration by the two newly consecrated Salesian Archbishops took place in the Sacred Heart Basilica, Rome at 11.30 a.m., on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Several Salesian Cardinals, Bishops, General Council members, Salesians, Members of the Salesian Family and Special invitees joined the celebration in this great Church built by Don Bosco himself. The Holy Eucharist was presided by his Eminence Cardinal Ángel Artime Fernández, while Archbishop Giordano Piccinotti preached the homily.

In his words of introduction, the Vicar of the Rector Major, Fr. Stefano Martoglio, warmly welcomed the two new Salesian Archbishops and affirmed that they had become successors of the apostles, experienced fullness of priesthood and now destined for the service of the Church. He expressed his wish and prayer, affirming Don Bosco from the heavens would accompany and bless these two sons in their mission.

In his homily, Archbishop Piccinotti began by stating that they had entrusted their pastoral journey to the heart of Mary, yesterday in the Basilica of Mary Major and today to the heart of Jesus, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

He expressed his convictions stating: “To be a good shepherd, one has to align himself to rhythm of the heart of God. To love as He loved, to suffer as He suffered, and to forgive as He forgave. We want to pray that we will have a heart that will align with the heart of Christ, and feel the smell of the sheep.  The shepherd exists because of the sheep. If there are no sheep there will be no shepherd. Don Bosco existed because of his boys.”

He quoted the words of famous Salesian Spanish missionary-martyr, Fr. Antonio Cesare Fernandez Fernandez, who gave his life in Burkinafaso in 2019 - “the youth of the world have taught me how to be a Salesian and to be the person that I am. These sheep that the Lord had entrusted to me have taught me everything, they have given me lot of joys and worries, and for their sake I also became sick and suffered, and I am what I am because of them.” The shepherd learns from the sheep and offers everything for them. When the shepherd approaches with the heart, he will be able to be with the sheep, and be the good shepherd according to the heart of Christ.

After Communion, a beautiful floral homage was paid to Mary Help of Christians and a prayer of thanksgiving to Mother Mary was made by Archbishop Piccinotti, in the name of the two consecrated Salesians, while the whole assembly sang the traditional prayer composed by Don Bosco, “Mary, Most Poswerful”.  

In his words of thanksgiving, Fr. Francesco Marcoccio, the Rector of the Salesian Generalate affirmed that it was an historical moment assisting the first mass of two Salesian Archbishops in the Sacred Heart Basilica, and thanked everyone for their presence. The lively youthful choir rendered the ambience festive and prayerful, and it was indeed a great day of joy and thanksgiving for the Salesian Family as they rejoiced and celebrated the gift of these two new Archbishops.  

Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, expressing his feelings stated, “For me it was a grace to participate in the Episcopal ordination of these two confreres. Yesterday in the basilica of St Mary Major the celebration was very emotional, and today celebrating the Eucharist in the basilica of the Sacred Heart, was more emotional as it concluded in front of the Our Lady Help of Christians, recalling the prophetic gesture for the Salesian congregation. Don Bosco will be very happy with these two sons who are entrusted particularly for the Universal Church”.

In his turn, Cardinal Sturla Berhouet, commenting on this occasion said: "It is a great joy for me to come here to Rome, to participate in the Episcopal Ordination of the Successor of Don Bosco and of my great friend Giordano. I experienced these two days with great joy and I am happy that these two confreres will now serve the Universal Church closely with a Salesian heart". 

Mons. Mauro Maria Morfino conveyed his sentiments - "The fact of having the Rector Major and Giordano as bishops in the Universal Church is a great joy, and their service to the Church will have an eye for the world of youth, and I am sure it will be a great contribution to the Church".


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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