13 June 1981
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 souls.
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 Ghost. Amen.
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