06/18/2018, 12.56
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Jerusalem, five Salesian deacons ordained in the Basilica of Gethsemane

by Matthew Coutinho*

The ceremony was presided over by Msgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa. Jerusalem "focal point from which the disciples leave to go to the ends of the earth to bring Jesus". The deacons come from Asia, America and Europe; they studied theology at the Salesian campus.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - From nations all over the world to the service of God's people, and especially among young people. With this mission five Salesian deacons were ordained yesterday in Jerusalem in the Church of all Nations, also known as the Basilica of Gethsemane. Thus Jerusalem, was once again underlined as the focal point from which the disciples leave to go to the ends of the earth to bring Jesus, the Good News.

The ceremony was presided over by the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Msgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa. The Archbishop recalled that the word diakonia (service) "will be essential in your future lives, whether you will be ordained as priests, or whether you will be called to the episcopal service".

The ordained hail from three continents - Asia, America and Europe - and are destined for local and foreign missions. . Javier Orengo hails from Puerto Rico and will serve in the Salesian province of Antilles; Jude Fernando and Jerome Warnakulasuriya come from the Salesian Province of Sri Lanka; Odise Lazri from Albania is missioned for the Salesian Province of South Africa; and, Pushparaj Anthuvan is from the Salesian Province of Chennai (India).

Each of them has travelled a unique journey from their homes to the mission and then finally to Jerusalem where for the last few years they have pursued studies in Theology at the Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University. Present at the Eucharist were numerous priests – diocesan and religious from diverse parts of the world – formation guides, spiritual mentors and friends – of the ordinandi. Family and friends were also present in large numbers representing their home countries and also the migrant Catholic community in the Holy Land who the ordinandi serve in their weekly ministry.

In his homily, Msgr. Pizzaballa said: "The newly ordained are called to go like Jeremiah to serve and to continue seeking God’s will responding with generous surrender and total self-donation. He noted the deep significance of celebrating the ordination rite in the place where Jesus accepted to do the Father’s will in arguably the most painful moments of his earthly life".

The well-prepared liturgy which duly accentuated the richness of the Rite of Diaconal Ordination; the tasteful decoration of the basilica which has an amazing beauty in its simplicity; and the melodious singing of the choir - drawn from the Jerusalem Angel’s Choir and brothers of the Salesian community of Ratisbonne - provided the perfect setting for the ordination ceremony.

* Salesian of the Ratisbonne monastery, Jerusalem

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