The Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico, Carlos Aguiar, has had a new auxiliary bishop since last November 18th to help him manage the most populous diocese in Mexico: he is Francisco Javier Acero (Valladolid, Spain, 1973), a religious from the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.
The fact that the Church chooses a member of a religious family to serve her is always a reason for joy and an incentive to continue serving the Church and the People of God with a lively, authentic and intense commitment. For this reason, each episcopal ordination also becomes a moment of reunion, welcome and joy.
The prior general of the Augustinian Recollects, Miguel Ángel Hernández, and the provincial priors of the four Provinces into which this order is divided, together with another twenty religious who came from other places joined the Augustinian Recollect Family in Mexico to participate in the celebration.
Francisco Javier was accompanied by his family, who had arrived from Valladolid, Spain; some of his religious brothers with whom he has been closest during his initial formation years in the novitiate and theologate; and many friends and acquaintances with whom he has shared life and mission for so many years in Mexico.
Ten Augustinian Recollect bishops also arrived in Mexico who, like Francisco Javier, have been called by the Church to accompany the People of God in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru or Spain. Another Recollect bishop, Carlos Briseño, was waiting for them in the host country, currently in the see of Veracruz.
It was the latter, together with the Vicar of Mexico and Costa Rica of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Fray Martín Luengo, who on the 17th received the members of the Augustinian Recollect Family from abroad to accompany them on a walk through the Mexico City, among other places the Metropolitan Cathedral.
The ordination began at 11 in the morning on November 18th in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the presence of 30 bishops and about 120 priests. It lasted two hours and 15 minutes. At the main altar, the nine postulants of the Saint Augustine Postulancy of the Augustinian Recollects in Mexico City served as altar boys and acolytes.
The newly ordained bishop recalled in thanksgiving that he has always felt welcomed, loved and accompanied in Mexico, using a very local term: "apapachado." ( Pampered) He showed gratitude to the entire Order and to the Church and focused part of his speech on the motto that he has chosen for his episcopate: "I want mercy." And for this reason, he "asked" everyone for the habitual practice of mercy. At the end of this note is the full content of this speech.
The Augustinian Recollect Family and the family of the new bishop later met for a celebratory meal where it was easier to congratulate the new bishop, greet those present and share in a friendly and, above all, fraternal way.
The new bishop also celebrated a Eucharist in the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe de los Hospitales, the ministry in which he inaugurated his stay in Mexico as soon as he was ordained. He was accompanied by 15 bishops and 15 priests and religious, the local Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity and the people of God who walk in this Parish.
In his homily he recounted the entire process of his episcopal appointment and how he had to face the news of his election. Later, everyone went to the facilities of the Comprehensive Development Accompaniment and Recovery Center (CARDI), for lunch. This place is also a referential in the ministerial life of Fray Francisco Javier, due to his role and performance in this social project.
On Sunday, November 20th, the Eucharist was held at the Parish of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the other ministry in Mexico where Fray Francisco Javier had served, in this case also due to his role as Provincial Vicar for Mexico and Costa Rica. In this case, the homily was given by Monsignor Ángel San Casimiro, emeritus Augustinian Recollect bishop of Alajuela, Costa Rica. During the thanksgiving, the prior general of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Miguel Ángel Hernández, spoke.
This day ended in the nearby Monastery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the contemplative Augustinian Recollects of Lomas de Tecamachalco, which received the Recollect bishops who had come to Mexico to participate in the Ordination.
Thanksgiving Message from Francisco Javier Acero
on the occasion of his episcopal ordination.
Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City, 11/18/2022.
Whenever I have come to this beloved Basilica it has been to thank. And today I do it again with my family and with the people of God who make me live the faith in a simple way.
Tlazohocamti is a Nahuatl word that indicates "gratitude from the soul." And so I want to express myself before our Virgin of Guadalupe. Grateful for life and the care that my parents, José Luis and Lourdes, and my brothers José Luis and Silvia, along with my brothers-in-law and nieces, gave me. Thanks to their respect and support, I chose to be an Augustinian Recollect. Grateful for the Saint Augustine College in my homeland, with its friars and their stories about the missions of the Order, with my classmates. In this school I met Jesus in my First Communion and there I began a formation process that continues and has been essential throughout my life.
Gratitude from the soul also comes to my grandparents, who were always there with their patience and love, teaching me to walk. With them I also thank all that the elderly fathers of this Archdiocese of Mexico have done... And to the dear elderly religious of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in Mexico: Fray Jesús Pérez, Fray Rafael Arana and Fray Ricardo Jarauta.
Today I thank all the formators, religious and priests, who during my initial formation process, the novitiate, the studies in philosophy and theology, helped me to continue searching for Jesus with passion and in community, in the style of Saint Augustine. With them I learned that little prayer that has helped me a lot this year: "All my hope rests in your great mercy, give me, Lord, what you command and command what you want" (Saint Augustine, Confessions X, 29.40).
I have always felt pampered n Mexico. Apapacho is another word of Nahuatl origin that has a deep meaning: "embrace or caress with the soul." I want to make those words of Our Lady resonate: “Am I not here, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my cloak, in the cross of my arms? Do you need anything else?"
This is how all of us who work in this Archdiocese feel, pampered by Our Mother of Tepeyac, by the laity who, with their conviction, give us lessons in simplicity and humility: those who distribute communion in hospitals, those who make retreats in prisons , those who care about hosting the migrant, the young fans of the Eucharist. These lay people pamper us and make us shift our gaze from the center to the periphery, they force us to be better members of the Church. Lay people who know how to forgive abuses of power and sometimes not very evangelical ways of carrying out the Church.
In the 23 years that I have been in Mexico I have felt accompanied by them and by a presbyterate with whom I have felt like a brother. Small details in the former V Episcopal Vicariate with Monsignor Diego Monroy, Monsignor Luis Ernesto Reynoso, Monsignor Francisco Clavel, and Don Carlos Aguiar, both in Tlalnepantla and in Mexico City.
Apapachado I have felt in this return to Mexico City with the team responsible for the government of the Archdiocese of Mexico: the auxiliary bishops and the team of D. Carlos. I would not like to fail to mention my Augustinian Recollect brothers who continue to caress me with their souls, always attentive to my state of mind, helping my heart to rest and calm in this new phase. Friars who dance the dance of life with the people of God. Heart brothers who go out of their way to create communion and unity. Thanks to my dear Recollect family, always present, always for me dear ones.
Today on this day I ask for your prayers to be close to the people of God, believers or distanced. The Servant of God Monsignor Luis María Martínez, Archbishop of this Mexico City, used to say that "to reach God you have to go up, but the paradox is that the secret to go up is to go down."
That is why I need prayer to be close to all the people of God:
brothers, the Gospel unites us, the commitment to accompany the most vulnerable in society. In the Primate Archdiocese of Mexico there are good priests, religious and lay people who work from their own vocational option and help to create a true fraternity and to seek solutions together in the diverse environments and cultures that this city has. Let us continue walking together, hoping and sowing with a view to long-term results, living in brotherhood.
Let's be neighbors There is a term that I really like and in some places in Mexico it is used: the approach. A term that helps us to go beyond physical proximity, to take a step towards emotional closeness. Learning to love is the goal we have every day, please let's not waste it. There are testimonies of great emotional closeness, of closeness to the people of God: Tata Vasco, Saint Ezekiel Moreno, Saint Rafael Guízar and Valencia, they followed Jesus through attentive and committed service, despite defamation and envy, their only The aim was to be close to the weakest and they achieved it.
The disarming and disarming love of Jesus invites me to welcome mercy and be merciful to the weakest in our society. This is how I share it today before the holy and faithful people of God and before the image of our beloved Virgin of Guadalupe: mercy I ask, mercy I want.