GALILEE - The Catholic Church of Galilee has six new ministers: three Lectors and three Acolytes from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, instituted by the Rev. Fr. Rafic Nahra, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, at the Church of the Domus Galilaeae last December 15. The Lectors are Giovanni Bovi, Daniel Perez Meroño, David Sotgiu; the Acolytes are Giacomo Dainotti, Paolo Felicetti, Kacper Pawel Jurczyk.
It was a simple but solemn celebration, in Arabic, during which the ministries of Lector and Acolyte were conferred on six seminarians of the Redemptoris Mater in Galilee. Presiding over the ceremony was the new Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, Rev. Fr. Rafic Nahra, who exhorted the young men, calling them by name, one by one. There were four Italians: Giovanni, David, Giacomo, Paolo; a Spanish, Daniel, and a Polish, Kasper. The celebration was intimate and essential, as essential as the service that these young men will carry out.
On this joyful occasion, there were brothers of the Neo-Catechumenal communities of Galilee and the Domus around them. Their families were able to follow the Eucharistic celebration through an online connection; in fact, the new restrictions in Israel did not allow the arrival of any of the families.
The rite of institution of the Lectors and Acolytes certainly marked a significant stage in the life and journey of preparation for the priesthood of the six aspirants; as well as an eloquent sign also for those who have family ties or friendship with them, for those who share the faith in the community and in the particular church. Because the ministry to which they are assuming – rooted in the sacraments of Christian initiation – is part of the life of the Church: it is a mission made up of preaching and liturgical gestures, which they will be able to understand more deeply in the days to come. It is a service that makes present the call of every baptized person, and speaks to the members of the Christian assembly. It is remarkable to see young men ready and determined to serve.
The ministries of the Lector and the Acolyte, in their diverse and complementary aspects - the service of the Word of God and the service at the altar - announce and manifest God's love and Christ's total offering.
The Lectors, those who proclaim the Word of God, are called to collaborate in this primary commitment in the Church, for which they are invested with a particular office "at the service of the faith, which has its root and foundation in the Word of God".
As stated in the ritual prayer, Jesus Christ, made man, "after having told us and given us everything, handed over to His Church the task of proclaiming the Gospel to every man": the proclamation of the Gospel, therefore, is the announcement of this fullness of God's love; thanks to this gift, the seminarians are on their way to a full offering of themselves. Those who were close to them during the celebration were able to see the light of this proclamation illuminating the faces of these young men with peace and firmness, who at the moment of the blessing knelt before the celebrant, manifesting their willingness, to receive from him the signs of the ministry that they will carry out.
In the explicatory rite, the Lectors received from the patriarchal vicar the book of the Holy Scriptures, with the mandate to "faithfully transmit the word of God, so that it may germinate and bear fruit in the hearts of men". While the Acolytes, who approach the altar of the Lord's sacrifice, received the plate with the bread and the chalice with the wine for the celebration of the Eucharist: for this reason, their life must be "worthy of service at the altar of the Lord and of the Church".
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Rafic urged the three Lectors to nourish themselves with the Word of God and to make it their own, living it in the first person, in order to fulfill the service of proclaiming it in the liturgical assembly, of educating children and adults in the faith, of bringing the missionary proclamation of the Gospel those who do not yet know it.
God created darkness and light, and everything is good – said Rev. Fr. Rafic – commenting on the first reading from the book of Isaiah. For example, in the Gospel of St. Luke, darkness is the moment of trial experienced by the Baptist, who from prison sends to ask Jesus if he is the one who is to come: in fact, another kind of Messiah was expected. "We too sometimes wait for something else, however to discover the truth of things, to know the reality in the light of God, is more beautiful than what we expect: the beauty of the truth surpasses all our expectations," the vicar pointed out. As with the Baptist, so too in our lives exist moments of darkness, in which we must cling to faith and deepen it. And so, he said, addressing the Lectors in particular, we are called to meditate on the Holy Scriptures every day, to bear witness with our lives to our Savior, to do everything with mercy and charity. Lastly, the exhortation addressed to the Acolytes was to be aware of the service they perform at the altar of the Lord's holy sacrifice, to be fully worthy of this great ministry.