Friday, March 9, 2012

A Prayer for the Bishop-Elect of Baker

By all accounts that I’ve heard so far, the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Baker, Fr. Liam Cary, is “orthodox”, “wise”, and “gentle”.

Nevertheless – and perhaps especially if he is a good, holy priest – he will need our prayers as he becomes our shepherd.

In a post from a few years ago, Fr. Z slavishly translated the collect for the feast of St. Ambrose, “whose ministry helped to shape Church and State relations for a thousand years”. Fr. Z suggested that this is a good prayer for bishops…and bishop-elects.

Here’s his analysis and translation:


Deus, qui beatum Ambrosium episcopum
catholicae fidei doctorem
et apostolicae fortitudinis exemplum effecisti,
excita in Ecclesia tua viros secundum cor tuum,
qui eam fortiter et sapienter gubernent

A great deal turns on fortitudo and fortis, whence comes the adverb fortiter.
Fortitudo means, in a physical sense, "strength", but is rather rare in that sense in ancient Latin. In the moral sense it is "firmness, manliness; fortitude, bravery, courage, intrepidity". Fortis the adjective also goes beyond mere physical strength.

In the Catholic sense, fortitudo is a cardinal virtue and gift of the Holy Spirit. Fortitude is the virtue by which a man faces evils with self-control when afraid. It is the virtue by which a man enters into great difficulties, and therefore it is associated with patience and perseverance. This sense flavors my…


O God, who made blessed bishop Ambrose
to be a teacher of Catholic Faith
and an example of apostolic fortitude,
rouse up in your Church men after Your own Heart,
that they may govern her wisely and bravely

I agree with Fr. Z: this is a wonderful prayer to pray for our bishops – especially in these trying times.

I’ll be praying this prayer especially for the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Baker, Fr. Liam Cary.

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