Most Reverend Archbishop Farrell, Most Reverend Bishops,
Right Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Reverend Clergy, Mrs. Farrell, My Dear
Friends in Christ:
This morning we have added another bishop to the hierarchy of
The Old Roman Catholic Church--another link in the chain that goes back to our
Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Our Lord determined that certain of His
disciples would have the power to nourish His flock with the sacraments, and
would serve to shepherd that flock through the difficulties of life in this
world. Archbishop Farrell is another in this long line of shepherds
appointed by our Lord. Be sure to keep him in your prayers
Archbishop Farrell's consecration come at a particularly
appropriate time--falling as it does in the season of Pentecost. For
Pentecost is the feast of the Holy Ghost, And one could almost feel the
presence of the Holy Ghost in the church this morning as He descended upon
Father Farrell to make him Archbishop Farrell, marking his soul forever
as a high-priest of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All of the sacraments operate by means of the Holy Ghost, but
this is especially true of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, for it is through this
Sacrament that the graces of the others are made possible. And of all of
the grades of Holy Orders, there is none more intimately in touch with the Holy
Ghost than the Episcopacy, for it is through the bishop that men are ordained to
fill the lower orders.
The Apostles were made bishops on Holy Thursday at the Last
Supper. But from the time of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven until
Pentecost they did little but hide. They retreated to the upper room--the
site of the Last Sipper--and waited. They had been commissioned to
"make disciples of all nations," but they were afraid. They
didn't know how to approach the world, didn't know how to present the case of
our Lord, and were probably overwhelmed even by the thought of trying. But
them "When the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close .... They
were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in foreign
tongues.... [And] they who received [Peter's] word were baptized, and
there were added that day about three thousand souls."
Now, perhaps we don't expect Archbishop Farrell to leave here
speaking in "foreign tongues." Indeed, we might be somewhat
disturbed if he did. But we do expect certain things of him. He was
elected Primate by his fellow bishops and priests because they saw him as the
best man available to lead the Old Roman Catholic Church through a critial
period in its history. We therefore expect Archbishop Farrell to be a
leader. We are a Church that places great importance on tradition--yet we
do no one any good if we retreat inside ourselves to preserve that
tradition. Our Lord tells us in the Gospel of Saint Matthew that a light
hidden under a bushel basket is of no use to men (cf. Matthew v:
13-19). In a like manner of speaking, we expect Archbishop Farrell to take
our light and place it on a lamp stand for all to see. We know that there
is no more powerful force than the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We hope
that under Archbishop Farrell's leadership we will grow, both in numbers and in
zeal, to spread that truth far and wide, and to accomplish the salvation of many
Today, more than ever before, the world is a place of
confusion. Many people, turning to the Church in search of guidance, are
led into even greater confusion. The modern world has many false
shepherds, many wolves in sheeps' clothing, seeking whom they may
devour. The Old Roman Catholic Church must stand out as a beacon , so
that all those lost souls may have, at least, a chance of finding themselves
in Christ's truth. Toward this end, our Communion must be come much more
well known and more highly respected. We pray that under Archbishop
Farrell's leadership this will be the case.
We must ask one more thing of Archbishop Farrell.
Something without which being a bishop would have no
meaning--indeed, without which the Church would be nothing--and that something
is holiness. All creatures exist simply for the greater
glory of Almighty God. If our lives are to have meaning we must strive to
know God and to conform our wills to His. If our new Primate is to have
success in his undertakings, he must be prepared to measure his accomplishments
with a yard stick that is calibrated in units of holiness. The world is
not going to be converted by propaganda, or force, or money, or any material
thing. The only thing capable of winningthe world for the glory of
God--the only thing able to make souls holy--is holiness.
Notice that there is an
important connection between the leadership and the holiness we ask for our
new Archbishop. On the words of Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard: "To be a
witness does not consist in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in
being a living mystery, It means to live in such a way
that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist." We pray
that Archbishop Farrell will make good use of the graces given him by the Holy
Ghost this morning, and will become this sort of a "living mystery."
In this respect , it was most edifying to see the
Archbishop's new coat of arms. Here we see the Blessed Mother holding
the infant Jesus. We see the "Agnus Dei"--the Lamb of
God--our Lord Jesus Christ as the sacrificial victim, ready to pay the price
of our redemption, conquering our death by His death and resurrection.
The motto exhorts us to "Respice ad Mariam," to "Look to
Mary." And how can we better be assured of holiness than to look to
our own Blessed Mother. When we look to Mary, we know with certainty
that our Lord is never far behind.
May God bless our Archbishop, and grant him many years.
If we are going to ask Almighty God to make our
Archbishop a strong leader and a holy man, we as his clergy and people must
always be ready to do our part. As his clergy we will promise him
obedience--but this must be more than a promise not to be dis-obedient.
We must form the intention to positively cooperate with him in every good
thing he does. We must resolve, here and now, never to withhold our
cooperation simply because he is not doing it the way we would like him to do
it. Such an attitude-- of "taking my marbles home and not playing
if you don't play my way"--is one of childish immaturity, and not worthy
of a priest of Jesus Christ. In this we must resolve to be men.
Clergy and laity alike--we must decide that we will be
holy. If we have asked our Primate to be a "living mystery,"
we must be willing to be the same. He will be able to shape and mold us
into the Church we want to be, only insofar as we have made ourselves
pliable by conforming our wills to the Will of God. If we want to
measure our contribution to the Church, we would do well to measure it in
terms of Prayers, and Masses, and Rosaries. We will know that we have
been successful when we can say that we want to do the Will of God because it
is our own will. In short, we too must live our lives "in such a
way that would not make sense if God did not exist."
And Mrs. Farrell: You have an important part to
play in this new role which your husband has taken up. Give him your
love and encouragement and he can be successful--withhold them and he may
fail. In his epistle to Saint Timothy, the Apostle Paul enumerates the
qualities of the good bishop (cf. 1 Timothy 3). He says in part that to
be a good bishop he must first be a good father and husband. It stands
to reason that if a man is to be a worthy citizen of the larger society of the
Church, he must first start out in the smaller society of the family.
Today, Mrs. Farrell, you have joined a somewhat small,
but notable group as the wife of a Catholic bishop. If you should ever
feel that there is something out of place in your new role, allow me to remind
you tha there are other ladies in the group to convince you otherwise.
The wives of the Popes, from that of Saint Peter, to that of Adrian II
serve as historical testimony to the mind of the Church that yours is both a
fitting and a beautiful apostolate. May God bless you and give you
strength in it.
Again, my dear friends in Christ, please keep our new
Archbishop Michael J. Farrell in your prayers.
May Almighty God bless all of us; In the name of the
Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy
The Reverend Charles T. Brusca
Our Lady of the Rosary
Old Roman Catholic Church
Delivered during the Mass of Consecration at
Our Lady of Good Hope
Old Roman Catholic Church
Pinellas Park, Florida
13 June 1981