“There is a need to restore the confidence of the faithful in the integrity and honour of the priesthood,” said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, OMI of Johannesburg in the homily at the ordination of Bishop Neil Frank, OMI as the Coadjutor Bishop of Mariannhill Diocese. The ordination took place on the 26 February 2022 at the sport grounds next to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Mariannhill.
The newly ordained Bishop Neil Frank in his thanksgiving speech at the end of Mass thanked the faithful for their deep faith and he said he’s thanking God for all the good gifts have gave to the faithful. He said the fruits of the deep faith of the faithful of Mariannhill show through many vocations to priesthood and religious life and the Lord has really blessed them.
“I am coming in humility and obedience to God who called me,” added the Bishop. He continued, “There is still a lot we still need to do together in cooperation, but we are not going to rush things. This celebration is yours, let us together thank the Lord for good things he has done for us.”
Earlier, talking about his experience of growing up in the rural area from where they often had rabbits crossing in front of their car with a shocked look in its face because of the headlights, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells said that is the same face you get when a man is told that he has been appointed a bishop. “I am so please that the bishop now does no longer have that look, he looks more at ease,” said the Nuncio.
To the newly ordained bishop, the Nuncio said the most important characteristic of bishop is that he must be a man of prayer. “I know you are a man of prayer and you must continue to be. If our priests are men of prayer, we know it,” said the Nuncio. He went on to say there’s a big difference between being a pastor and ad administrator, a difference big difference between be a teacher of Christ and a bureaucrat, a big difference between a man who wears nice clothes and a big hat, politicians do the same, and bishops are not politicians, they are pastors. Referring to the Holy Father he said Pope Francis recently reminded us beautifully saying a good shepherd is the one who knows how to walk in front, sometimes with the people and sometimes behind the people. He said the same is true in the bishop’s life of prayer, to lead the prayer of the people of God, to pray with the people of God, to be lead in prayer by the people of God.
Fr. Lizwelinjani Mlotshwa, OMI, the acting Provincial of the OMI SA Province, wished the new bishop all the blessing from God. He congratulated the diocese for having a new bishop and thanked all the people who welcomed their brother warmly. He said he believes Bishop Frank comes a son of the Church to work in cooperation with other sons and daughters of the Church to grow and strengthen the Body of Christ.