Noting the liturgical feast of the archangels, the Holy Father told the new prelates that in the early Church, bishops were considered to be like angels, because their service recalls that offered by the celestial creatures.
"They are God’s messengers. They bring God to man, they open heaven and earth," the Pope said. "Because they are near God, they can also be very close to man. God, in fact, is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.
"Angels speak to man about what his true being is, about what is very often covered and buried in his life. They call to him to go within himself."
The Holy Father affirmed that bishops, in particular, "must be men of God, must live a life oriented toward God."
"The bishop," he said, "must be a man of prayer, one who intercedes to God for men. The more he does this, the more he understands those entrusted to him and can become an angel for them -- God’s messenger, who helps them to find their true nature […] and to live the idea that God has of them."