Pope Francis ordains Benedict XVI's former secretary and two nuncios as bishops

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On the Feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis ordained three new bishops. It took place in St. Peter's Basilica at 5 p.m.

Alfred Xuereb, a 60-year-old from Malta, was secretary for both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. Following his ordination, the pope will send him as nuncio to South Korea. 

Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, a 50-year-old from Poland, is the new nuncio in Nicaragua. He had previously worked as a high-ranking official in the Secretariat of State. 

The third new bishop is 55-year-old José Avelino Bettencourt, former chief of protocol of the Secretariat of State and soon-to-be nuncio in Georgia and Armenia. 

“The Holy Catholic Church wishes to ordain the bishops and presbyters Waldermar Sommertag, Alfred Xuereb and José Avelino Bettencourt”.

“With pleasure.”

The pope told them a bishop who doesn't pray doesn't carry out his duty. He asked them to always follow the Good Shepherd's example. According to the rite, Pope Francis questioned them before ordaining them. 

“Do you all want to be forever receptive and merciful to the poor...”

“We do.”

The Holy Father removed his mitre and prayed with everyone. Meanwhile, the three bishops assumed the penitential position. 

Once the litanies had been completed, the bishops approached the pope one by one for the laying on of the hands. 

Later, it was time for the rest of the cardinals and bishops.  

They were presented with their rings – a sign of fidelity – their mitres – a symbol of holiness – and their staffs – a symbol of healing. 

After the rite, before continuing the Mass, Pope Francis gave each of them a final piece of advice privately. 

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