8th December: cherishing the Mystery of the Faith in a pure conscience

The Custody of the Holy Land celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in a special way. On 8th December at the Church of St. Saviour in Jerusalem, Fr. Marlon Trinidad Mendez Pavon received the gift of ordination as a deacon from the hands of Mons. Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem.

During the homily, Mons. Girelli explained the parallelism between what was about to take place and the feast-day being celebrated. "Mary," His Excellence Mons. Girelli commented, “by becoming a servant expresses the awareness of her place in the story of the Salvation.” The Greek term“diaconìa”,which means "service", identifies in full putting the Gospel into practice with one’s own life, giving testimony to its style both in private and by offering a service to society and to individuals. "The diaconate,” Girelli continues, “is the mirror of He who did not come to be served but to serve and is deeply linked to She who is defined the servant of the Lord, especially on this day which calls us to the prayer of “Ave, O Mary.”

The Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, was also present and concelebrated the Holy Mass taking the floor to present the deacon and confirm his suitability in the light of his personal journey."May this service,” hoped the Custos at the end of the celebration of the Eucharist, “be carried out with the awareness of experiencing an occasion to mature a conformation to Christ the servant and Mary, and that it may be an exercise of ‘diaconìa’ for the Church and in the Church.”

Just over two months since he made his solemn vows and after moving to the convent of Mount Nebo, the Nicaraguan Franciscan of 38 accepted this gift with joy, sharing it with his friends who greeted him at the end of the celebration, during refreshments in the Foyer of the Custody’s Curia.

Fr. Marlon said that he had always felt a bond with the Virgin Mary, in particular to the Immaculate Conception, the Patron Saint of his country, where there is a huge celebration every year on the evening of 7th December called “La Gritería" – literally “the din” – a tradition exclusive to the city of Leon but which in the 18th century spread to the whole country. "I have always lived with the certainty of being protected by the Virgin Mary like a mother,” Fr. Marlon explained. “I will certainly not reach the same level of generosity and gratitude of a figure like the Virgin Mary but in my own small way I hope to be able to continue doing what I can to be of service all the time.” After the years of study in Jerusalem, Fr. Marlon has been living in the Franciscan convent of Mount Nebo for about two months, where he will return to carry out his diaconal service.

Giovanni Malaspina