Called for the sake of others – Three men from Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Perth were ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe
Article and photo courtesy of The Record
On Friday, August 22, 2014 three men from Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Perth were ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe.
The three men, each of them from South America, have been waiting in anticipation for this day for nearly eight and a half years.
Deacons Marlon Henao Perez and Alexis Vega Osorio both originate from Colombia and Deacon Noe Navarrete Apaez came to Perth from Mexico. None of their family members were able to be present at the ordinations. However, the cathedral was full of fellow seminarians and college staff, friends and well-wishers from across the Archdiocese of Perth.
During the moving ceremony, Archbishop Costelloe shared how we are all called into the Church not just for our own sakes but for the sake of others, stating that the whole world is our neighbour.
“In the Book of Genesis, where the beautiful story of the creation of the world is recounted, we are told that after sin enters into the world that sin begins to spread” said the Archbishop. Soon we read of the “terrible murder of Abel by his brother Cain. When, in the story, God comes looking for Abel and asks Cain where his brother is Cain replies with disrespect and arrogance, “Am I my brother’s keeper?””
The Archbishop then recalled how, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in answer to the query of the scribe who asks him, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus gives the divine answer to Abel’s question. The answer is “Yes – you are your brother’s keeper. You are responsible for him.”
“Mutual responsibility and of our dependence on each other is at the very heart of our Christian and Catholic faith,” the Archbishop said.
“We are all called into the Church not just for our own sakes but for the sake of others and the gifts we are given, and the way of life to which we are called, are always for the service of our brothers and sisters in the faith, and for all our brothers and sisters in the whole human race. We are indeed our brother’s keeper. The whole world is our neighbour” the Archbishop went on to say.
He noted that “for our three brothers, Marlon, Alexis and Noe, who are to be ordained this evening, it is important that we all understand what the Lord is asking of them and why the Lord is giving them to us as a special gift.”
“Deacons are called to be and ordained and empowered to be… living sacraments, for us. But sacraments of what? By their lives, and their ministry, they will put before us more than anything else the truth that service is at the heart of the Christian response to life.” The Archbishop pointed out.
“If you are going to be these living sacraments of the meek and humble one, the one who came only to be served, then perhaps tonight’s first reading, coupled with an image recently expressed by Pope Francis, might serve as a guiding motif for your ministry as deacons: the powerful imagery of dry bones gradually coming to life through the power of God’s Spirit (Ezekiel 37, verses 1-14) chimes beautifully with Pope Francis’ description of the Church as a field hospital in which people’s wounds are healed and their hearts are warmed. Wounded lives and cold hearts are all around us: the gospel of Jesus is a message of life and joy, not of despondency and death. It is a source of healing and warmth.
“It will be your responsibility and your privilege,” the Archbishop said, “through your service at the altar, through your ministry of preaching and catechizing, but equally through your humble availability and the compassionate heart you bring to all your encounters with your brothers and sisters, both in the Church and beyond its visible boundaries, to express a quality of warmth and healing which will enable people to see the face and heart of Christ revealed in you. Then people will know that you really do, as I will soon say to you in the ordination rite, believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Deacon Alexis said: “the highlight for me was the Litany of Saints where we invocated the prayerful support of the entire Communion of Saints. I am left hoping that the Lord continues to give me and my brother deacons the grace to serve everyone He sends our way. It is now time for us to give our lives completely in serviced to God’s people.”