On 12th May, on Good Shepherd Sunday, ten Franciscan friars were ordained deacons, the first degree of the Holy Order, at the church of St Saviour in Jerusalem.
The Celebration was presided by the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mons. PierbattistaPizzaballa, in the presence of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton. The latter introduced the celebration, emphasizing how the presence of nine young men meant putting themselves at the complete disposal of the Church and it was Fr. Patton himself who presented the candidates for the diaconate to the Apostolic Administrator. "Some of you,” Mons. Pizzaballasaid, speaking to the candidates during the comment on the Gospel, “will perform your service here, others in other parts of the world, but I like to think that in a certain way every year the Church of Jerusalem sends deacons and priests out into the world announcing what they have seen and heard (1 John 1,3)."
The Archbishop then continued, giving instructions to the new Deacons in the light of the Gospel of the day, advising the friars to belong to Jesus and to gain experience from him, always listening to him and following him “it is the experience of being ‘his sheep’ that has to give expression to your service as deacons.” Concluding, Mons. Pizzaballarecalled how it is necessary to be free from human dynamics, without taking possession of God’s work for personal gratification. "Jesus was the first,” he said, “who experienced this in his relationship with his Father, and his Father gave him back life, the eternal and true life.”
In the very emotional atmosphere that followed the celebration, Fr. Marco Carrara, a newly-ordained Italian deacon, commented, “The diaconate for me is like a visible and real sign of service, which reminds me to be more and more an instrument for the Church to serve others on a daily basis.” This view is also shared by Fr. Ricardo Ortega Gutiérrez, a newly-ordained deacon from Mexico, who said, “For me, the diaconate is a chance that God is offering me to serve his Church, profoundly in line with the invitation by St Francis to put yourself at the service of others, of those who need a God nearby."It is a moment of reflection and also of thanks to God for Fr. Riccardo "because it gives me the chance to continue this route in life, always at the service and on behalf of the charity which is expressed in the service to the Word and to the Eucharistic Bread, the place which is the source of all our Christian life.”