12/19/2022, 12.11
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Baghdad: Christians celebrate the ordination of three new priests

The ceremony yesterday in St Joseph's Cathedral, presided over by the Chaldean Patriarch. The three new priests representing the diaspora, the capital's community and Iraqi Kurdistan. Card. Sako: a mission in which "the flame of enthusiasm" must remain alive. The importance of prayer and the bond with the community. 

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The priesthood "takes within itself" the entire essence of a person, of a Christian, and permeates "his thinking, his feelings and his activity," reflected Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, Card. Louis Raphael Sako, during his homily at the ordination mass of three new priests of the Iraqi Church.

The service took place yesterday in the Cathedral of St Joseph, in Baghdad, and was a moment of celebration for a Christian community marked - like the rest of the country - by violence and wars but which has been trying, in recent times, to rise again.

Addressing the three new pastors (in the photos), the cardinal added that the priesthood is "not a job to earn a living", but is a mission of service that must keep alive "the flame of enthusiasm" and must therefore "learn to renew itself constantly".

The three new priests are: José Emanuel Martins, born in Madrid, Spain, in 1969. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature and studied Theology in Spain and is a symbol of the Chaldean community in the diaspora; Bashar Basil Najeeb, born in Baghdad in 1995, holds a degree in Computer Science and is about to graduate in Theology from the Pontifical Babylon College in the Iraqi capital. Aiden Elia Jejo, born in Alqosh (in Iraqi Kurdistan) in 1982, emigrated to Holland where he studied theology, now works as an English teacher and is married to Larsa Khaled Matti.

Numerous local church dignitaries were present at the service, as well as a large crowd of faithful. In addition to the Chaldean Primate, who presided over the ordination, the Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq Msgr Mitja Leskovar, the auxiliary of Baghdad and right-hand man of the Patriarch Msgr Basilio Yaldo, the ambassadors of Italy, Spain and Australia, numerous priests, nuns, monks and lay people from the capital and other parts of the country attended. 

In his homily, Patriarch Sako emphasised that one of the most important moments of ordination is when the new priest declares his faith and readiness to dedicate his life "to the service of Christ and his brethren". And to the question he replies "with enthusiasm: yes, here I am!". There is then the act of kneeling as "an expression of humility, obedience and thanksgiving", and then receiving the chrismal oil as a sign of the Holy Spirit. 

To the new priests, one of whom is married in the tradition of the Eastern Church, Patriarch Sako renewed the invitation to prayer, a means for the priest "to nourish his relationship with God and with Christ". It is not a "routine", but an "essential" element that is also "a source of peace, tranquillity and security".

The second point is "the relationship with the Church" within which the priest operates as a "harmonious team" that carries "the same message" and "does not deviate from it".

Finally, the 'relationship with the people', with their community that every priest 'carries in his heart' dedicating his life to 'their service' as mothers, fathers, brothers and sons."

Calling them by name, the cardinal asks them to be "witnesses" of Christ's love, forgiveness and salvation, and thanks them for choosing the priesthood "in a society that is losing its human and spiritual values" veering increasingly towards materialism. Finally, he thanks those who "have contributed to your education: the family, the Church and all the priests who have prepared you for this special day."

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