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Six new Franciscan deacons in Jerusalem

By: Giovanni Malaspina/Custody of the Holy Land - Published: May 27 Wed, 2020

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While throughout the country, various businesses and areas are starting to reopen after the Covid-19 emergency, on Sunday 24th May at the church of St Saviour six Franciscan friars were ordained deacons. Fr. Allan, Fr. Andrija, Fr. George, Fr. Gerson, Fr. Pascal, and Fr. Paulo received the ministry of the diaconate through the imposition of the hands of H.E. Mons. PierbattistaPizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which presided the Eucharistic celebration.

The Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, the Custodial Vicar Fr. DobromirJasztal and the Guardian of the Convent of St Saviour Fr. Marcelo Cichinelliconcelebrated and were present together with the Discretes of the Holy Land and the Franciscan friars who, in a limited number, arrived from nearby convents.

It was a small celebration, without the traditional presence of parents and friends, but with a warm welcome from the family of the Custody, represented in its various expressions.

Mons. Pizzaballa, during his commentary on the Gospel, underlined how, "before being real priests, you have to be real deacons, that is, servants, people who give themselves, free of charge, without asking for anything in exchange." "Being deacons,” he continues, “does not simply mean being one step under the priest, whom you must serve and from whom you must learn to take orders, in liturgy and in life. Deaconry is a free service and it is a constitutive part of the priestly identity. Without it, the priest is not complete."

After the homily, the celebration continued as usual for the Diaconate Ordinations, with the commitment of filial respect and obedience in the hands of the Bishop, the prostration of the future deacons during the litanies, and the imposition of the hands and the prayer of ordination. Immediately after these moments, putting on the diaconal vestments and giving the books of the Gospel mark the end of the rite of ordination.

Concluding the Eucharistic Celebration, the CustosFr. Patton spoke to thank the Apostolic Administrator, "the wish is that you are at the service of the family of God that is the Church, and always having in your heart what Mons. Tonino Bello called the Spirituality of the Apron: do not hang up your apron but always keep it with you."

"I entered the convent when I was 15, ten years ago now," said Fr. Andrija, one of the new deacons, "for me this is a very meaningful day, not only because it is one of the most important steps on our path but also because I had been waiting for it for so long. With all the joy I have inside me, I am ready to say that today is the day I take a new commitment  of service in the Church for the people of God and for the latter’s needs, in joy and in sorrow."