On the World day of prayer for vocations, Pope Francis ordained ten young men from diocesan seminaries in Rome, aged 26 to 38, including one from Asia (Azerbaijan). The ritual homily was dotted with sometime scathing impromptu comments. "Do not give homilies that are too intellectual or elaborate; speak in a simply manner,” he said. “A dual life is a bad disease in the Church." Instead, “Be joyful, in the joy of Christ's service, even in the midst of suffering, misunderstanding, and one’s own sins." And “Do not be masters, state clergy, but shepherds of the people of God."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "These sons and brothers of ours have been called to the presbytery . . . They have been elected by the Lord, not for a career, but to perform this service," said Pope Francis as he ordained ten deacons into the priesthood this morning, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, in which the Church celebrated the 54th World day of prayer for vocations.
The candidates ordained today come from various diocesan seminaries in Rome. The youngest is 26; the oldest are 38. Four of them are from the Diocese of Rome, two from the Roman missionary seminary Redemptoris Mater, one from the Congregation of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy, one from the Family of the Disciples, and one from the diocese of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno. One of the newly ordained comes from Asia, David Behbud Mustafayev, 35, from the Apostolic Prefecture of Azerbaijian.
Following the readings about the Good Shepherd, Pope Francis delivered the ritual homily, as provided by the Roman ritual for the ordination of priests. Although the text was rather traditional, mentioning the priest's mission, liturgical service, prayer, etc., the pontiff broke here and there with the prepared text to add his sometimes scathing comments and exhortations.
Thus, after exhorting to read and meditate "assiduously the Word of the Lord to believe what you have read, to teach what you have learnt in faith, to live what you have taught," the Holy Father added, "Speak in a simple way, as the Lord did. Do not give homilies that are too intellectual or elaborate; speak in a simply manner."
Noting that it is necessary to nourish the people of God even with "the scent of your life," he noted that "The word without the example of life is pointless. It is better go back. A dual life is a bad disease in the Church."
With respect to bringing "the death of Christ in your limbs" and walking "with him in the newness of life," he said, "A presbyter who perhaps studied a lot of theology, [has] one, two or three degrees, but has not learnt to carry the cross of Christ, is useless. He will be a good academic, a good professor, but not a priest."
The homily then listed the sacraments that the priest must administer in the name of the Church. Citing the sacrament of reconciliation, Francis noted, "Please, I ask you in the name of Christ and of the Church to be merciful, always: do not saddle the faithful nor yourselves with burdens you cannot carry. Jesus reproached the doctors of the law with this, and called them hypocrites.”
For the sacrament of the sick, he added, "One of the tasks, tedious perhaps, even painful, is to visit the sick. Of course, the laity and the deacons can do it, but you do it [as well]. Do not avoid touching the flesh of the suffering Christ: this sanctifies you.”
The ritual homily emphasised that "conscious of having been chosen among men and made in their favour to attend to God's things, exercise Christ’s priestly work in sincere gladness and charity. [. . .] Be joyful, in the joy of Christ's service, even in the midst of suffering, misunderstanding, and one’s own sins."
"Always hold before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who did not come to be served, but to serve, to try to save what was lost. Do not be masters, state clergy, but shepherds of the people of God."