JERUSALEM – Sunday, June 12, 2016 – Bishop Shomali presided at a Mass in St. Anne’s Basilica in Jerusalem during which fourteen future missionaries, eleven Salesians and three of the White Fathers’ community, were ordained deacons.
The eleven Salesian seminarians are presently studying at the Theologicum Studium Salesianum (STS) in Jerusalem. This seminary is a branch of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. A faculty that offers a unique opportunity to study theology in the Holy Land, the scene of the Fifth Gospel, with all the academic rigor of a Pontifical University.
Eleven Salesian seminarians alongside three members of the Missionaries of Africa, also known as the White Fathers were ordained deacons. The White Fathers’ community, located in the Old City of Jerusalem as St. Anne’s Basilica, brings together missionaries from four continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and America.
It is this same universal and international vocation that led the seminarians of the two communities to be ordained together this Sunday, June 12 at the hands of Bishop William Shomali, in the presence of many faithful.
In his homily, the Bishop reminded the new deacons of the importance and the magnitude of their mission: “Jesus came to serve and not to be served. We have deacons so that the world may see the love and mercy of God in action.” He gave various examples of this “courageous” and incarnate mercy, including that of the pastoral care of migrants in Israel, the reception of refugees in Jordan or the example offered by François Pope with the refugees of Lesbos. Referring to the refugees brought back by the Pope to Rome, who were not Christians, the Bishop invited the new deacons to “exercise mercy without boundaries, following Jesus himself” while reminding them how “the root of (their) vocation is an act of love with which the Lord selected you among many others”.