WINNIPEG — Every pope has a specific identity and mission, says the pope’s representative in Canada, and the mission of Pope Francis is “to make evident to people the mercy of God though the mission of the church.”
The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Rev. Luigi Bonazzi, spoke to priests and other men and women religious of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg May 4, the day after bringing greetings from Pope Francis to 14,000 faithful at the archdiocesan centennial mass.
In this, the Year for Consecrated Life, as proclaimed by Pope Francis, Bonazzi told the assembled clergy that in the most difficult times, God is with them.
He spoke of his time working in Haiti, where he met a woman who came from a very poor family, who eventually graduated university and became a teacher. She gave him a small card with the image of two boats on a rough sea and the words, “the one who has called you to the journey will show you the way.”
“Every day I see it is not me establishing the program,” he said. “If I am attentive, I see, sometimes at the last moment, the way, the door opens. I am just a servant and the master of the vineyard is there helping me every day because I am open to him. The kingdom of God is built by God and by Jesus and by the Holy Spirit and by us, called to be open to him and united with him.”
Bonazzi was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Canada in December 2013. He was previously Apostolic Nuncio to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Bonazzi was ordained a priest in 1973 for the Diocese of Bergamo, Italy and ordained Archbishop of Atella, Italy in 1999. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1980 and was part of diplomatic missions In Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Malta, Mozambique, Spain, the United States, Italy and Canada. From 1999 to 2009 Bonazzi was Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti and later Cuba.
“Alone I can do nothing but if I am connecting my community with God, I am capable of becoming an instrument to build the church. But I alone? No.”
Bonazzi said as a seminarian he tried to establish a personal relationship with his bishop, “to find the ways and means to make the union with my bishop concrete. Everything I have done has come from my obedience to my bishop. Here I am because I have always tried to follow the wishes of God through my bishop.”
He told the assembled priests, “we are part of a presbyterorum and as a member of this presbyterorum we can act as one,” he said. “Thanks to my communion with my brother priests and bishops, all the presbyterorum is acting through me. This is the reality of the Catholic priesthood.”
Bonazzi said just as priests and bishops act in communion with each other, “we can never think of Jesus separate from the Father and the Holy Spirit. This unity characterizes Christian life as a family. Pope Francis is challenging each one of us to rediscover more and more our priestly identity.”
Bonazzi spoke of “the need to rekindle the reality of vocations,” and his five tools to take care of vocations, which can be read in detail on the Apostolic Nunciature in Canada website where, Bonazzi asks, “what does ‘to take care of vocations’ mean? It means giving them some thought, namely keeping vocations present in your mind and heart and investing all of your personal resources for this purpose. ”
In brief, Bonazzi’s five courses of action are “to put our trust in the power of prayer; to manifest Jesus; to speak openly of the vocation to consecrated life and to ministerial priesthood, and call courageously; to devote oneself with generosity to spiritual direction; and to propose paths of communion.