Below is published the text of the farewell speech delivered by Mons. Gianantonio Borgonovo, Archpriest of the Duomo di Milano, to his Most Reverent Eminence, Mons.Mario Delpini, the new Archbishop of the Duomo di Milano, on 24 September on occasion of the new Archbishop's solemn entry in the Cathedral.
There are so many variables converging in this moment that we are living together today, that not one of us would have been able to make it happen of our own volition.Today's event is truly a creation of God's Spirit, which moulds events long before we are able to predict them.It is for this reason that its symbolic significance is without question..
However, I would like to give pause to a particular detail with which I was recently involved in your solemn entry to this Duomo that the people of Milan desired for their Archbishop. Together with the Venerable Metropolitan Chapter, I greeted you at the threshold and brought you to kiss the Cross of Saint Charles.
The cross represents the foundation of our existence as a regal, prophetic, and priestly people by virtue of the baptism which brings us together and also expresses the profound reason for its pastoral ministry within this population.This is everything.The rest is just embellishment..
We gave it to you to kiss because it represents the heart of our faithful tradition and because we expect you, our new Archpriest, to lead our people in their march through a history that began with Anathalon and has been marked by Ambrose, Galdino, Charles, and all of the holy bishops whose memories we solemnly honour tomorrow in the Anbrosian liturgy.
It will be a journey that we embark upon together – σύν ὀδῷ – remaining faithful to the Word of God and to the anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven. Day after day in the Eucharist we will express our communion with you and, remembering the words of Jesus that represent your holy office, "This is my body, which is given for you", we will hear the echo of his voice in reply:"I am your sweat / and you hunger, / I carry the entire city in my heart, / bread for my sacrifice" (D. M. Turoldo, O sensi miei..., p. 417). From this we will gather the strength to continue, together with you, our daily witness, which means welcoming all those who we meet, starting with the last, because – as father Carlo Maria Martini taught us:"Deluding ourselves is futile: history teaches us that it has almost never been bread that finds the poor, but rather the poor who go where there is bread to be found."And, quoting father Ambrose who used to say: “Choosing the guest is to demean hospitality”, he said: "This does not imply a passive acceptance, one that is senseless and must be endured, nor the welcoming only of guests that are similar to ourselves.The magnanimous host is not afraid of that which is different, because he is confident in his own identity."Mnogaja łeta! לדור ודםר ! Ad multos annos!
Archpriest of the Duomo di Milano