Sunday, April 22, 2018

Priestly Ordinations in Rome

At 9:15am this morning in Rome (3:15am EDT), the IV Sunday of Easter and the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Holy Father, Pope Francis presided over the celebration of a Mass inside the Vatican Basilica during which he conferred Presbyteral Ordination (priests) upon sixteen deacons, six of which were from the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College, five of which were from the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, four of which were from the Family of Disciples and one from the Opera Don Orione.

Also present to concelebrate with the Holy Father were His Excellency, Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome; His Excellency, Gianrico Ruzza, Secretary General of the Vicariate of Rome; the Auxiliary Bishops, Seminary Superiors and Pastors of the newly-Ordained priests.

The Holy Father's homily, which was shared during the Eucharistic celebration was based on the ritual homily proposed in the Italian edition of the Roman Pontifical for the Ordination of Priests; His Holiness also added a few of his own considerations.

Homily of His Holiness, Pope Francis
for the Ordination Mass

Beloved brothers,

These, our brothers have been called to the order of Presbyters.  Let us reflect attentively on the ministry to which they are to be elevated in the Church.  As you know very well, the Lord Jesus is the only High Priest of the New Testament, but also in Him, the entire holy people of God has been established as a priestly people.  Nonetheless, among all of his disciples, the Lord Jesus chose a few in particular to exercise the office of priests in his name, publicly in the Church, in favour of all mankind, continuing his personal mission as teacher, priest and pastor.

In fact, it was for this reason that he was sent by the Father, so that he in turn could send into the world, first the Apostles, then Bishops and their successors, to whom priests were finally added as collaborators, those who are called to serve the People of God in union with them.

Having seriously reflected upon this matter, we are now to elevate to the order of presbyters these brothers of ours, so that in service to Christ, the Teacher, Priest and Pastor, they may work together to build up the Body of Christ which is the Church in the People of God and the holy Temple of the Spirit.

In fact, they will be configured to Christ, the Eternal and High Priest, or they will be consecrated as true priests of the New Testament, and with this title, which unites them in the priesthood with their Bishop, they will be preachers of the gospel, Pastors of the People of God, and will preside over the actions of worship, especially the celebration of the Lord's sacrifice.

As to you, beloved sons and brothers, who are to be raised to the presbyteral order, consider that by exercising the ministry of the Sacred Doctrine, you will participate in the mission of Christ, the only Teacher.  Share with all people the Word of God which you yourselves have received with joy.  Read and meditate carefully upon the Word of the Lord in order to believe what you have read, to teach what you have learned in faith and to live what you have taught.

In this way, you will nourish the People of God with your doctrine, your joy and you will sustain Christ's faithful with the perfume of your own life.  With this word and the example of your lives, you will be able to edify the House of God which is the Church.  You will continue the sanctifying work of Christ.  Through your ministry, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is perfected, since it is joined to the sacrifice of Christ which through your hands, in the name of all the Church, is offered bloodlessly upon the altar in the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.

Therefore, be conscious about what you do.  Imitate what you celebrate in order to participate in the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord, bringing the death of Christ into your actions and walk with Him in newness of life.

In Baptism, you will add new faithful to the People of God.  With the Sacrament of Penance, you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church.  And here, I pause to ask you: please, never grow tired of being merciful.  Think about your own sins, your own sufferings which Jesus has forgiven.  Be merciful.  With holy oil, you will comfort the sick.  Celebrating the sacred rites and raising prayers of praise and supplication to the Lord at various hours of the day, you will give voice to the People of God and to all of humanity.

Conscious of the fact that you have been chosen from among men and constituted in their favour to await the things of God, exercise in joy and charity the priestly work of Christ, with the sole intent of pleasing God and not for your own benefit or that of mankind, nor for any other interests, but only in service to God, for the good of the holy and faithful people of God.  Finally, participating in the mission of Christ, the Head and Shepherd, in filial communion with your Bishop, commit yourselves to uniting the faithful into one family in order to lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit.  And constantly hold before your own eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who did not come to be served but rather to serve and to seek out and save those who were lost.

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