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Pope ordains 10 bishops during Mass celebrating Epiphany

Pope John Paul II regretted that the true spirit of the Christmas season is being lost by consumerism and urged the faithful on Sunday to focus on the holiday's original meaning.

The Holy Father made the comments as he ordained 10 new bishops in a liturgy celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany.

"How suggestive is the symbol of the star in the iconography of Christmas and Epiphany!" John Paul said in his homily. "Today it still evokes profound sentiments, even if it sometimes risks - as with so many other sacred signs - becoming banalized by the consumerist use that is made of it."

He told the 10 new bishops - five from Italy, two from the Republic of Congo, and one each from Congo, Portugal and the Philippines - that they represented the "light of the people and hope of the world."

After pledging their loyalty to the church, the 10 then lay prostrate before John Paul on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica in a sign of submission and humility. After rising, each received the pope's blessing, a red cap and miter - the tall peaked hat - as well as the bishop's ring, staff and holy book.

Later, he appeared before thousands of the faithful in brilliant but frigid St. Peter's Square to wish them a happy Epiphany and to send his best wishes to Orthodox Christians, who were celebrating the birth of Jesus on Sunday.