The Slovenia Times

Andrej Saje ordained as new bishop of Novo Mesto


Mirna Peč - The new bishop of Novo Mesto, Andrej Saje was ordained at a ceremony at the parish church of Mirna Peč on Sunday before he formally takes over from Andrej Glavan next week. Addressing the congregation, Saje noted the great responsibility he is assuming, wishing for fruitful cooperation and dialogue with everyone in the diocese.

So far serving at the Ljubljana Archdiocese, Saje was ordained in a laying on of hands ceremony performed by Glavan with assistance by Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia Jean-Marie Speich and Jože Marketz, the bishop of the Gurk-Klagenfurt diocese in Austria.

Saje, 55, then accepted a gospel book and the episcopal insignia, a ring, mitre and the bishop's staff. The ring stands for the unity between the Church and Christ as its founder, and the staff is a symbol of the pastoral care for the believers.

In his address, Bishop Saje thanked Pope Francis for the trust he placed in him through the appointment. In line with his instructions he pledged to "aspire to lead the believers to mature faith in community with Christ".

Saje looked back on his path, which he sees "as a blessing, grace and gift, and I see my life as a mission to serve others".

"I'm taking the episcopal service being fully aware of the great responsibility to spread the word of the Gospel, to serve and lead, where to perform the mission it takes mutual cooperation with the assembly of bishops, priests and all believing laymen," he said.

Apart from the rest of the congregation, the believers and religious officials, he addressed a special greeting to representatives of other religious communities, the Gottschee and Roma and representatives of social and political life.

"Aspiring for the common good, I wish for fruitful dialogue with everyone so that through joint effort we can create a society of peace, justice and respect for the dignity of every human being. I ask you for your help and cooperation."

In the Church's tradition, bishops are the successors of the first disciples of Jesus. On consecration, they pick their episcopal motto and a coat of arms; Saje picked the slogan Living the spirit, while his coat of arms is adorned by a honeybee, a flame and a scales.

The new bishop will formally take over on Tuesday as he is installed by Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore during morning mass at the Novo Mesto cathedral.

Hailing from Novo Mesto, Saje graduated from the Ljubljana Faculty of Theology in 1991 before earning a master's degree at the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1999 and a PhD degree in canon law from the same faculty in 2003.

Back in Slovenia, Saje has served as secretary general and spokesman of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, a prefect in the Theological Seminary in Ljubljana, a judge at the Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Court, and a teacher at the Ljubljana Faculty of Theology.

He has also been a member of a church commission for regulating the relations with the state, and has been active in the establishment of a Catholic University.

Pope Francis appointed Saje new bishop of Novo Mesto in July, almost two years after Glavan offered his resignation on turning 75 in keeping with the Catholic tradition.


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