Star of Wise Men Challenges Secularized Society, Pope Says

Celebrates Epiphany by Consecrating 10 New Bishops

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2002 (Zenit.org).- On the feast of the Epiphany, John Paul II said the star that guided the wise men from the East to Bethlehem also awakens a nostalgia for God in our secularized society.



"Even today it evokes profound feelings despite the fact that, as with many other signs of the sacred, it runs the risk at times of being made banal by the consumerist use made of it," the Pope said during his homily at Mass in St. Peter´s Basilica.

As customary, the Holy Father celebrated the feast by ordaining new bishops. This year he ordained 10 -- five Italians, three Congolese, one Filipino and one Portuguese.

"By being placed again in its original context, the star we contemplate in the manger also speaks to the mind and heart of the man of the third millennium," the Pope said in his homily. "It speaks to secularized man, awakening in him the nostalgia of his condition as pilgrim in search of truth, of the absolute desire."

"Who does not feel the need of a star to guide him on the road of life on earth?" the Pope asked. "Individuals and nations both feel this need."

Jesus is that star, the Pope answered, for "all peoples, regardless of race or culture. ... This is how the Church was born, composed of men and women who, united in Christ, are guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage toward the Kingdom of the Father, and have received a message of salvation to propose to all."

This is the foundation of the missionary vocation of every Christian, especially of the new bishops, the Pope concluded.