MILWAUKEE — Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki had news for Bishop Donald J. Hying during the Mass at which the latter was ordained a bishop: His new auxiliary isn’t the first person to feel he is “the least qualified or least deserving of any bishop candidate ever called by the church.”
“As you know, Don,” the archbishop said during his homily, “I immediately informed you that this distinction has already been claimed by me, the present archbishop of Milwaukee.”
The self-deprecating remark was greeted with laughter from the standing-room-only crowd attending the Mass, Wednesday, July 20, the feast of St. Appolinaris, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
The archbishop continued, “I really do not know of any bishop who felt themselves personally worthy to have been called by the church to the office of bishop. I imagine it might have been a similar experience of the first 12 apostles called by our Lord. A fisherman, tax collector, a zealot – how are those occupations preparation to evangelize the world?”
Referring to the Mass’s first reading, Ex 16:1-5, 9-15, the archbishop said that as Moses asked God to feed the Israelites, the new bishop has a similar role among the faithful.
“You, my brother Don, must use your position as leader to help satisfy the hunger in all whom you serve, to bind the hurt of those who have been wronged and to heal those broken by sin,” Archbishop Listecki said. “To help people understand God’s presence in his church as he feeds them through word and sacrament.”
The archbishop instructed Bishop Hying to “exemplify three qualities which I know will be part of your episcopal life” – docility, generosity and holiness.
Archbishop Listecki noted that docility “is really an ability to be taught.”
“As you have learned from those who surround you in the proud tradition of the Milwaukee presbyterate and the faithful, continue to learn from those who so faithfully witness to the church and her teachings so that you will always be in touch with the truth that serves the Gospel.”
About generosity, the archbishop stated, “A true servant gives from the heart and you my brother has expended yourself in his name. Your generosity should always stem from our God whose love knows no bounds.”
Regarding holiness, Archbishop Listecki said, “Your personal holiness will verify all that you do. For remember, what profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul. Holiness will keep you focused on the one in whose shadow we walk.”
Bishop Hying is the first priest Archbishop Listecki has ordained as a bishop.