9th May was a day of celebration for the Custody of the Holy Land: twelve new deacons were ordained in St Saviour’s church in Jerusalem. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mons. Pierbattista Pizzaballa presided the Mass, concelebrated by the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, by Fr. Dobromir Jasztal, Vicar of the Custody, Fr. Marcelo Ariel Cichinelli, guardian of StSaviour’s Convent and Fr. Donaciano Paredes, master of the theology students who live and study at the convent in the old city.
After the solemn professions with which the friars had declared belonging forever to Christ and to live according to the rule of the Order of Friars Minor, the newly ordained deacons will live a new period, “The Deaconate adds to this promise of yours a further dimension,” said the Patriarch in the homily. “With the first degree of the priesthood, you are asked to make yours the charity that animated Christ in his life, to become His charitable face in the middle of men, in the Church. The apostles entrusted the service of charity to the deacons. Not just any charity, general and philanthropic, but Christian charity which is sparked off by the encounter with Christ. And this assumes a continuous remaining in Him, becoming the image of Him, who did not come to be served but to serve (consecratory prayer).”. Mons. Pizzaballa also recalled that the new deacons will soon be busy with countless services to perform, to the point of at times not having time for prayer. “Always find the right balance between the need to remain with Christ in prayer and in listening to the Word on the one hand and the extreme service for the life of the world on the other”, said Mons. Pizzaballa.
Before the diaconal ordinations, the friars prostrated themselves in front of the altar and asked, together with the assembly, for the intercession of all the Saints. From all over the world, relatives and friends of the friars prayed with them, thanks to the live streaming on the Facebook page of the Custody of the Holy Land and the Christian Media Center. Then the Latin Patriarch laid his hands on the friars for the diaconal ordination and then solemnly gave the Bible to the new deacons.
“Lord, we thank you for having accompanied us along the path of formation in the Order of the Friars Minor,” said one of the new deacons in the name of all of them, at the end of the Mass. “We ask for your grace so that we can remain faithful to the service of the Church and the service of the small, of the poor and those who need your presence.” Addressing all the families linked by streaming, he then added: “The artisans of our vocation are our families and our parents. We thank you for the gift of life and for having taught us to love God more than anything else.” Special thanks also went to all the formators, masters and superiors. “We also thank our Provincial Fathers, who have not been able to be present. We express our gratitude for having welcomed us into the Order of Friars Minor.”
“My wish is that you succeed in interiorizing the words of the Collect read by the Latin Patriarch,” concluded the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton -. Non ministrari sed ministrare, (from the Latin, “do not be served, but serve”): this is the wish that I make to each one of you.