I was overjoyed when I heard that Fr George Bugeja OFM was recently appointed by Pope Francis as coadjutor bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tripoli.
When I did my directed retreat for my perpetual profession as a Franciscan Capuchin brother some 15 years ago it was precisely Fr Bugeja who led me in that special retreat. Even if 15 years have now elapsed I still very much cherish its life-giving fruits.
To my Franciscan brother, I say only this: keep close to your Franciscan heart Admonition 27 wherein our seraphic father, St Francis, teaches us to uphold the virtues that put vices to flight.
Where there is charity and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility there is neither anger nor worry. Where there is poverty and joy there is neither cupidity nor avarice. Where there is quiet and meditation there is neither solicitude nor dissipation. Where there is the fear of the Lord to guard the house the enemy cannot find a way to enter. Where there is mercy and discretion there is neither superfluity nor hard-heartedness.
Are not these the virtues which make a bishop’s witness really authoritative? Do not these virtues infuse the episcopate with a truly Franciscan soul?