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Ordination Mass Preview: Apostolic Succession - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Ordination Mass Preview: Apostolic Succession

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One of the great traditions throughout the history of the Catholic Church is the handing down of the teachings of the Apostles.

Wednesday, that teaching authority will be handed down once again through what is called apostolic succession to Bishop-Elect Folda during his Ordination Mass.

"Jesus told Peter that He would build His Church upon Him, and that the gates of the netherworld would not prevail against Him," says Father Luke Meyer, Chancellor of the Diocese of Fargo.

Since the time of Jesus Christ's twelve Apostles, the Catholic Church continues carrying the 2000-year history of one mission. "The mission of the Gospel comes to new lands and places and expands and develops throughout history," says Fr. Meyer.

As Jesus commissioned His Apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations, so too does that teaching authority get handed on within the Church through apostolic succession.

The Congregation for Bishops gathers priests throughout the world and proposes certain names to the Holy Father, after researching each candidate. It is then that the pope appoints the men as bishops. Fr. Meyer adds, "To lead with great courage. To teach the fullness of the Catholic faith and the Gospel with joy, and to sanctify the people through prayer and sacraments."

Fr. Meyer says the Catholic Church enjoys a great sense of universality. Through that oneness, no matter where a bishop may come from, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are present in the same way.

"I think many bishops would say it's not about me or my personality or my program, but it's about the mission of the apostles, that when they're ordained, their life is no longer their own," he says.

Fr. Meyer explains it is important to the people of the Church to have a living witness who can guide us as the Church faces new questions and ideas.

The Diocese of Fargo will welcome its eighth bishop, once Bishop-Elect Folda is ordained. More than 20 bishops will be present for the Ordination Mass.

Fr. Meyer says, "The Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, the Archbishop of Denver who was Bishop Folda's predecessor here in Fargo, Archbishop Aquila, and Bishop James Conley will be the three main grouping of bishops who will ordain him."

Though all bishops present will lay hands on Folda as a sign of the passing on of the apostolic preaching. "It shows the great support of not only the local church here in Fargo but throughout the surrounding states and areas," says Fr. Meyer.

It is also a sign of the solidarity of the Church, continuing Jesus' mission even today. Fr. Meyer says, "The fact that the Church is still here 2000 years later, passing on the apostolic witness, teaching and authority of the Apostles to new men is a sign indeed that the gates of hell have not prevailed."

Archbishop Aquila was appointed to be bishop of Fargo by previous pope, Blessed John Paul II. Bishop-Elect Folda is the first appointment of a new bishop in the United States by Pope Francis.

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