The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Galilee has nine new ministers: five lectors and four acolytes. They were instituted by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, on the feast day of St. Ephrem, on June 9th, in the Church of the Domus Galilaeae.
Ruminate the Word of God, let it always work on you, so as to be its announcers. The bread is not only bread and supper, but also knowing how to die: at its school, you learn how to give your life until the end. This was the exhortation of the Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem to the new ministers.
“Receive the book of the holy Scriptures, and faithfully transmit the Word of God, so that it may spring and give fruit in the hearts of men”. “Receive the plate with the bread, and the chalice with the wine for the Eucharistic Celebration, and may your life be worthy of the service to the Lord’s Supper and to that of the Church”. This prayer, along with the rite of the handing over of Scripture to the lectors, and the handing over of the Chalice and Plate to the acolytes, has clearly displayed the meaning of both the ministries of lector and acolyte: the service to the Word of God and to the Eucharist, that nine seminarians form the Redemptoris Mater of Galilee will fulfil in the Church. The new five lectors and four new acolytes were instituted by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa on Tuesday June 9th, on the feast day of Saint Ephrem, in the Church of the Twelve Apostles and Seventy-two Disciples at the Domus Galilaeae. These young men come from seven different nations; their vocations were born within the Neocatecumenal Way. They are completing their theological and likewise human formation, that they receive in the missionary seminary, as they are accompanied in an experience of faith that matures in the communities of the Way, present in some of the parishes of the Galilee region.
The seminarians who were instituted lectors are Rubén Cabrera Rosique (Spain), Igino Sistilli (Italy, Giulianova), Samuel Costanzo (Italia, Rome), Mauricio Alberto De La Cruz Natera (Columbia), Kacper Paweł Jurczyk (Poland, family in mission in Kazakhstan). The seminarians that were instituted acolytes are Juan José Fernández Orbe (Ecuador), Roman Savluk (Ukraine), Paolo Sepich (Italy, Rome); Samuel Tobar Maida (El Salvador).
Lectors and acolytes represent two essential ministries in the life of the Church: they are called firstly to be announcers of the Word of God, as the ritual explains, and are invested with a particular office which is at the service of the faith, finding its roots and foundations in the Word of God itself. The acolytes instead, are entrusted with the task of helping both priests and deacons in carrying out their functions throughout the Eucharist; that is the source and summit of the Church's life.
“God can do anything, but he will not do it without us, he needs our consent that we give in our freedom”. The Apostolic Administrator began his homily with these words, highlighting how the step of these ministries represent a freely taken consensus, that is gradually made concrete in life. In the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, the Lord has waited for her yes. The same happened with the widow of Zarephath, the main character in this liturgy’s first reading: through her welcoming, and despite her poverty and the famine at that time, God went to meet the prophet Elijah, “It’s always like that”, noted Archbishop Pizzaballa, who addressed the seminarians: “You are on your path, although you still have a long way ahead of you. No one knows what the Lord will make of you. What we do know though, is that God will need the consent you will give here, in front of the Church, that will later be transformed into a real, concrete life. And when you will be a little like that widow that no longer has anything-he continued-it’s precisely at that time, if there shall be your freely given participation, and that yes to the Lord, He will be able to intervene; until there is a lot of you there, it’ll be harder”.
The invitation given by Archbishop Pizzaballa to the new ministers was that of growing in testimony. “These are small though significant steps. In his wisdom, the Church makes it so, that those founding elements for a priest, the Word and the Eucharist, may gradually enter into life. On Sunday, we will celebrate the feast of the Corpus Domini. The Word that you must proclaim, shall be a reality you will live”. Pausing to speak on Mathew’s Gospel (“you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world”), the Archbishop noted that one of the problems of the crisis of faith, in the current process of secularization, is the division between what we say, and what we are; between the announcement, and the life that is lived.
Being light means being those who allow us to see. Everything begins with experiencing Jesus Christ: “If we have this light inside of us, and with it we may see, then we ourselves will become light. If we have salt inside of us that gives flavor to our life, we will be salt in the life of the world”, stated the Apostolic Administrator. From here comes the call to the youth, to ask themselves what does it concretely mean to give flavor to this generation’s reality.
The Word of God needs witnesses, announcers: learn to chew on it, to ruminate it. You in the Way, are familiar with this; pay attention that this does not become a habit”. Until the Word of God will disturb you, and there will be passages that you wish to understand, it means that It is working in you; when instead this is over, let’s begin to worry”. Being closer to the priest at the service to the table, is not a “bureaucratic” step: Eucharist is also a sacrifice, it’s to give life. Knowing how to die, is the Christian way to love. With the simple priestly ordination, we do not learn to die. Each day is a school in which we must be in”. Explained the Shepherd, as he concluded with a wish: “May this seemingly small step in your lives, be a step in your Way to meeting the Lord”.