Archbishop Pizzaballa to the ordained priests: ” Be always willing to learn, for the Kingdom of God grows continuously”
Domus Galilaeae – On Saturday, June 16, 2018, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa consecrated three young men as priests of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Galilee, vocations born within the Neocatecumenal Way. The number of ordained priests from this seminary is now thirteen, twelve of them for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and one for the Maronite Diocese of Haifa and the Holy Land.
“I wish you to be fertile ground: the place on which the seed of God may grow and yield fruit. Be always at the service of the Church, of the ministry with which you have been entrusted! That all who meet you may say: We have met the Lord! Remain deacons, or in other words, servants.” said Archbishop Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, to Marek, Miguel and Sliman, in his homily.
Fr. Marek Kurzydłowski, 32, is from south-eastern Poland. After two years in Bahrain, he served as a deacon in Rafidia, Palestine. Fr. Miguel Pérez Jimémez, 26, from Spain, fourth in a family of ten, was sent to Eilat and then to Fuheis in Jordan. Fr. Sliman Hifawi, 29, is the first priest from the Holy Land (Jaffa) to be ordained for the Latin Patriarchate after training at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
There were more than 900 people from all over the world that attended the Eucharist celebrated by the Apostolic Administrator and concelebrated by Fr. Camillo Ballin, Fr. Hanna Kildani and Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, and other priests from Galilee and Palestine, from Latin rites, Byzantine or Maronite. We must also note the participation of the brothers from the Neocatechumenal communities from Jordan or the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar), where the seminarians lived their mission time. Mass was said in Italian and Arabic, a diversity of languages that did not prevent the assembly from being one body. The litany of the saints in Arabic was a particularly poignant moment since the assembly asked for their intercession on the three priests, prostrate on the ground, as a sign of their total gift to Christ.
In his homily, Archbishop Pizzaballa spoke of the parable of the sower, emphasizing the virtues necessary for the priesthood: patience, vigilance, humility, service and continual prayer. ” the sower is not the owner of the work, but must rather wait and let the seed get to work “. The duty of the new ministers is ” be those who know how to till the ground, and how to make the seed of God give fruit and not take possession of it “. Indeed, the risk is to ” think that once one becomes a priest, it is time to command, to manage the parish as one’s own possession, according to his own image and likeness.” On the contrary, the he emphasized: ” you are not owners, everything has to bring back to God, to the Lord Jesus, and you are ministers, you remain deacons; that is to say you are at the service of this work. Being good ground, means to have one’s mind continuously lifted to God: there cannot be any service given to the Lord without a profound intimacy with Him, thus the importance of rooting oneself in prayer.”
The next day, the three new priests celebrated their first Mass on the shores of Lake Tiberias in Capernaum, a symbolic place, as recalled by Fr. Sliman Hifawi: “It was in Capernaum that Jesus came to live in the house of Peter. There, he began his public life and sent his disciples on mission.”