Church of Jerusalem ordains five new deacons
BEIT JALA – Five new transitional deacons were ordained on Sunday December 8, 2013, by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, at the Beit Jala Seminary. Upon ordination to the diaconate they were incardinated into the Diocese of Jerusalem. For the seminarians of the diocese, December 8 is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, and also that of the Seminary. Traditionally, diaconal ordinations are held around this date, while priesthood take place at the end of June.
In the heavily packed Church of the Latin Parish of Beit Jala, the Diocese of Jerusalem welcomed five new deacons coming from several parishes of the Diocese or abroad: Bernard Poggi from USA, Baha Stephan, Ibrahim Naffa and Fares Siryani from Jordan, Bashar Fawadleh from Palestine. They studied at the Patriarchal Seminary which has 34 major and 45 minor seminarians.
Several Bishops, many priests and delegations coming from USA and Italy supported the young ordinandi, encouraged further by prayers of faithful of the Diocese, from Galilee, Samaria, Jordan or the suburbs of Bethlehem. During his homily, Bishop Shomali expressed his joy, and underlined again the role of a deacon called “to live in simplicity”, to announce the Gospel, to serve the Church through his love for mankind. He focused on the importance and the difficulty of the relationship with society: “People look at what we are doing on the ground before listening to what we say…. we are expected to act with a tender heart if we really care to put the image of Jesus Christ in the spirit of those to whom we minister.”
At the end of the celebration, after heartfelt thanks by the Rector of the Seminary, Fr. Jamal Khader, the faithful proceeded to greet the five new deacons in a festive and musical mood, aided by music from the Scouts of Beit Jala and Bethlehem who were keen to be present at the ceremony.
The five deacons will remain in the Seminary to complete their formation, until next June, when – God willing – they will be called by the Church to be priests of Mother Church of Jerusalem.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt.