As successors of the apostles, together with the Supreme Pontiff and under his authority, we bishops have accepted with faith and hope the calling to serve the people of God, according to the heart of Christ, Good Shepherd. Together with all the faithful and by virtue of baptism we are, first of all, disciples and members of the People of God. Like all the baptized and together with them, we want to follow Jesus, Master of life and truth in the communion of the Church. As shepherds, servants of the Gospel, we are conscious of being called to embody love for Jesus Christ and for the Church in the intimacy of prayer, and to give of ourselves to our brothers and sisters, over whom we preside in charity. It is as Saint Augustine says: with you I am Christian, for you I am bishop.
The Lord calls us to promote the charity and holiness of the faithful by all means. We strive so that the people of God will grow through the sacraments presided over by us and by the other ordained ministers. We are called to be teachers of the faith, and hence to announce the Good News, which is source of hope for all, to oversee and promote the Catholic faith with care and courage. By virtue of the close fraternity that comes from the sacrament of holy orders, it is our duty to cultivate in a special way the bonds that unite us to our priests and deacons. We serve Christ and the Church through discernment of the will of the Father to reflect the Lord in his way of thinking, feeling, speaking and behaving in the midst of human beings. In short, we bishops must be close joyful witnesses of Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd (cf. Jn 1:1-18).
As shepherds and spiritual guides of the communities entrusted to us, we bishops are called “to make the Church the home and the school of communion.”