Diaconal Ordinations at the Redemptoris Mater of Galilee “Service is the highest form that life can take”
GALILEE- Korazym, December 9th 2016. The newly elected Apostolic Adminstrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mons Pierbattista Pizzaballa, presided for the first time a diaconal ordination. The Latin Patriarchate’s newly ordained deacons, formed in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Galilee, are Giovanni Falorni from Italy, and Juan Manuel Silva Lopez of Colombia. A few days before the event, their companion from the seminary, Rodi Noura, a maronite of Lebanese origin was ordained deacon according to the maronite rite.
Over three hundred faithful welcomed the new Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in his first ever visit as Bishop to the Domus Galilaeae. There, a diaconal ordination of two seminarians, from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Galilee was celebrated. This occasion, being of great importance not only for the lives of Giovanni Falorni and Juan Manuel, that from this day will enter into the service of the Latin Patriarchate as deacons, but also for Msgr. Pizzaballa himself, whom for the first time conferred a Diaconal Ordination. Such is an essential step also for the Diocese, that sees itself enriched with new workers for the Lord’s vineyard. The Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, Msgr. Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo was also there to concelebrate. Furthermore, present at the event to joyously welcome the Administrator, were over thirty concelebrants among them priests from the Latin Patriarchate, accompanied by various religious and consecrated persons of the Galilee, and a plentiful number of brethren from the Neocatechumenal communities of Holy Land. In addition to this attendance, were seminarians and brothers both of the Domus Galilaeae and the Jerusalem situated House of Mamre, together with professors as well as seminarians of the Redemptoris Mater of Galilee, and numerous guests that came from Spain and Italy.
The Liturgy was opened by a cordial greeting from the rector of the seminary, fr. Francesco Giosuè Voltaggio, followed by a brief presentation of the attendees. The designated readings were in fact deliberately chosen for the occasion, yet as the Bishop also noted, they were all the more in remarkable consonance with the present advent time.
The Gospel presented the call from Jesus to keep watch (Lk 12, 35-48) and the parable of the servant who readily awaits his master. This parable in Msgr. Pierbattista’s homily was wholly and promptly taken as the model for diaconal service, since “ He’s not as much; he who does things, who keeps the house in order, who prepares food, as He who first and foremost awaits the return of his master”.
The Bishop had also highlighted the mission pertaining to the service of the deacon in the New Testament, which at the outset is a service to the poor and the community. Subsequently, he moved on to affirm that in the Gospel that was proclaimed, much emphasis was made on awaiting, made clear by the image of the door that is to be opened to its master upon his return. This “taking care of opening the door” the bishop added “means that this house was made to welcome someone, meaning that it’s not a house closed in on itself, that finishes with itself, but that the most important person, the most awaited guest has still to return.” Such an act of awaiting from the Master of the house “is what makes the deacon someone who lives in a particular relationship with Christ; he cannot think of himself beyond the extent of Him”. Hence, the time of the deaconate “isn’t a question of filling holes, empty spaces, expectations, but of having them open, and turned to Him who is to come. The Master, as a matter of fact Christ, is coming and upon that time, He will show himself as the true servant, having his loins girded; he then serves”. “Only awaiting for such a God.” The prelate concluded “only by keeping the door to let him enter, only then will our lives know to freely choose service, not as a burden, nor as something taken from me, but as the highest form that life can take.”
Some few days prior to the ordination, similar words were said by Msgr. Moussa El Hage, the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land, when on November 20th, He ordained Rodi Noura an Israeli of Lebanese origin as deacon for his diocese. This seminarian was also formed in the Redemptoris Mater, and took part in the service to Mons. Pizzaballa at the aforementioned celebration.
In both of these occasions, the ordination came to an end with a great celebration in which all of the invited guests were able to warmly express their happiness for the charisms with which the Lords to decorate his Church; gifts that She keeps and safeguards with loving care. As witness to this care, the Apostolic Administrator dedicated the following day to visiting the Redemptoris Mater seminary. In that day visit after celebrating Morning prayer in the seminary, the Bishop dedicated his whole time to listening to the formators and seminarians alike.
Redemptoris Mater Seminary