Jerusalem: Holy Land Priestly and Diaconal Ordinations

On Sunday the 29th of June, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Custody was host to a large number of guests for the diaconal and priestly ordinations of nine of its friars. The friars and many of their family members were already together in the city for a time of prayer, praise and meditation.

Mgr. Lazaretto, the Apostolic Delegate, officiated the Sunday solemnity, preaching about joy. “I do not know your names, but nevertheless I will try to pick out your faces and I will pray for you,” he began, addressing Fra Hugo Castro (ordinand to the priesthood), and Fras Alberto Pari, Bernardo Moya, Filip Durdevic, Filiberto Dorantes, Israel Porras, Ulise Ramon, Mario Berumen and Tomasz Dubiel (ordinands to the diaconate). He continued with the opening exhortation of the Second Vatican Council, “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia”, Mother Church Rejoices.
On the day when these friars are taking an important step in their spiritual and human itineraries, Mgr. Lazaretto repeated that not only is the joy of the Church great, but so is the joy of the aspiring priest and deacons. “Your personal joy is clear on your faces and in your eyes; it is a gift of the Lord. Like Peter, today you will joyfully proclaim that Jesus is the Christ; you are blessed to carry this joy. May your lives be a permanent expression of this joy. Yes, bring those around you to live the joy of God that surrounds you and is in you,” he concluded.

Then the future deacons received the stole and dalmatic, along with the Gospel that it is now their mission and responsibility to announce to the world. Fra Hugo received the sacerdotal vestments, the paten and chalice for the Body and Blood of Christ that from now on he will consecrate for the congregation of believers. Faithfully following Catholic tradition, he then prostrated himself on the ground in humility and dependence on God, during the invocation of the saints’ blessing. Then, his hands anointed with the holy chrism, he became a priest by the laying on of the hands of every priest present.
The Eucharist was celebrated, and the ceremony ended with the Salve Regina and a few words from the seminary director, Fra Giovanni Loche: “This is a great joy for us, though it is mingled with a little sadness, too, because the end of the year has arrived. Some of our brother seminarians will be leaving to return to their own provinces, which always leaves behind an empty space.” He invited everyone present to meet in the Curia to congratulate the newly ordained friars and share a friendly toast. There was friendship to spare, with uncountable signs and gestures of affection and smiles filling the Curia to overflowing. It was fraternal, generous, and simple—entirely Franciscan.
The festivities continued in the late afternoon with Vespers officiated by the new priest, Fra Hugo, and the new deacons. The evening saw a festive dinner in the Curia courtyard.

The Custody of the Holy Land would like to thank everyone who was involved in preparing this beautiful day, and all those who traveled across the world to be at their brothers’ sides. May they, in the image of Peter and Paul who had their lives transformed by Jesus, be propagators of the Faith and solid rocks on which the Holy Father can continue to build his Church.