Bishop Kopacz learns about `office’

ROME –  Bishop Joseph Kopacz is spending 10 days in Rome, Italy, learning about the role and responsibilities of a bishop and the Office of Bishop in the Catholic Church.
Newly ordained bishops are invited by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops to attend the seminar held at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum on the outskirts of Rome. Located along the Via Aurelia, a few miles to the southwest of Vatican City, the Athenaeum is directed by the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
The school for bishops has been conducted for more than 30 years. It is an effort to allow new bishops to be immersed in their new ministry in the episcopacy.
After Morning Prayer and Mass, these bishops from around the world spend several hours in lectures and discussions on the various aspects of the office of bishop. The lectures are given in Italian and bishops not fluent in Italian listen to interpreters through headphones. Time is given for questions and discussion after each presentation.
In a recent email from Rome, Bishop Kopacz remarked, “We have four sessions of nearly two hours each per day. They have been substantial and the most recent one was on the Sacred Liturgy, the Bishop as Sanctifier.”
Other topics include episcopal spirituality, episcopal governance, fraternity with and care for priests, use of the media for evangelization, and relations with eastern churches .
During down time, Bishop Kopacz planned to visit sites in Rome and take in the culture and history of the Eternal City. When he returns to the diocese he hopes to share his experiences in his column for Mississippi Catholic. This week we are featuring Father Robert Barron, of WordonFire, a global media ministry, in Bishop Kopacz’ place.
At press time, the new bishops were scheduled to have an audience with Pope Francis on Sept. 18, the last day of the seminar. Bishop Kopacz will return on Friday, Sept. 19, and spend the weekend installing Father Xavier Amirtham, OPraem, as new pastor at Holy Family Parish in Jackson and conferring the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for seminarian Jason Johnston at St. Paul Parish in Vicksburg.