An Oath of Service

By Kellen O’Grady, Coordinator of Liturgical Celebrations

On Monday, December 9, 2013, I had the distinct privilege of attending the Ordination of the Most Reverend Andrew Cozzens as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Amidst the pomp and circumstance of the celebration, those gathered kept hearing again and again the purpose of a bishop: service. During this Year of Social Justice I offer for your reflection the oaths taken by all bishops. It is one of trust, fidelity, preservation, building, obedience, service, devotion, kindness, and compassion; these are things we are all called to live out in love of God and love of neighbor.

Principal consecrator: My brother, are you resolved by the grace of the Holy Spirit to discharge to the end of your life the office of the apostles entrusted to us, which we now pass on to you by the laying on of hands?

The bishop-elect replies: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to be faithful and constant in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to maintain the deposit of faith, entire and incorrupt, as handed down by the apostles and professed by the Church everywhere and at all times?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to build up the Church as the body of Christ and to remain united to it within the order of bishops under the authority of the successor of the apostle Peter?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to be faithful in your obedience to the successor of the apostle Peter?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved as a devoted father to sustain the people of God and to guide them on the way of salvation in cooperation with the priests and deacons who share your ministry?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to show kindness and compassion in the name of the Lord to the poor and to strangers and to all who are in need?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved as a good shepherd to seek out the sheep who stray and to gather them into the fold of the Lord?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator: Are you resolved to pray for the people of God without ceasing, and to carry out the duties of one who has the fullness of the priesthood so as to afford no grounds for reproach?

Bishop-elect: I am, with the help of God.

Principal consecrator: May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.