(FMC) Great joy for the Church and for the Custody of the Holy Land on Sunday February 8th. By the imposition of hands, three minor friars received the holy orders in Nazareth at the Basilica of the Annunciation. In the presence of many parishioners, this particularly festive Mass was presided over by HE Cardinal Baldisseri, assisted by Mgr. Marcuzzo (Bishop of Nazareth) and Mgr. Kamal Hanna Bathish (Emeritus Vicar General). The presence of a Roman prelate is pretty unusual for an ordination ceremony. But this prelate participated for several days at a major conference in Nazareth, in order to prepare the next Synod on the family of which he is the Secretary General.
Three young Franciscans have therefore been ordained: one as a priest and two as deacons. Thus, Brother Tomasz Dubiel from Poland was committed for life in priesthood. Co-responsible of the Christian Information Center and the Franciscan Pilgrim Office, the newly ordained was first diocesan seminarian before joining the Franciscan order.
Meanwhile, Fr. David Grenier and Fr. Sinisa Srebrenovic have been ordained deacons. According to Fr. David, this step is a continuation of a busy year (solemnly professed in October, he must receive priestly ordination in June). After studies in Philosophy in Canada, he joined the Custody of the Holy Land where he is now in charge of the Magnificat Institute (the music school of the Custody).
For Fr. Sinisa Srebrenovic this day of celebration is a form of accomplishment since the current sacristan of Nazareth will remain as permanent deacon. Minor Friar for ten years, he has recently asked to be ordained as deacon.
In a dense homily, the Cardinal wished to emphasize the connection between the Annunciation and the priestly vocation: “the Annunciation is the story of a vocation, a call. At the school of Mary, we must learn to say “Yes, here I am.” The family has a paramount importance in the birth and maturing of a vocation. He continued: “They must continue to provide the favourable context to vocations, maintaining a sense of piety, prayer and love of the Church.”
In an exhortation that already became daily for the Franciscans, the prelate begged the ordaining to “spread the joy.” “Announce and give witness of God, of His joy! Give witness of the joy of Resurrection! In this sad and negative world, spread the joy of Christ!
The ordination rituals proceeded: calling the candidates, prostration (the ordaining lay down on the floor as a sign of total consecration to God), imposition of hands, clothing (the ordained donned the liturgical clothes of their order), delivery of the Gospel for the deacons and the consecration of hands for the priest.
The parishioners were able to taste the “celebration of beauty”, even if some thought the Mass was a little bit long. Two hours of celebration, to delight the Poor Clares who were present in Nazareth. “Our brothers were ordained today in this capital of Yes”. For some Poor Clares, this celebration in the Holy Land was one of the last since the daughters of St. Clare return to Europe, leaving the Nazareth Convent to other Poor Clares coming from South America.
The friars, along with their friends and families, have subsequently met at the much renovated Casa Nova for a festive lunch. The Delegation of the Monastery of St. Saviour of Jerusalem moved then to Haifa to visit the new school of the Custody. Ceded by the Carmelites of Haifa, it has been managed by three Franciscan since October which had the pleasure to show the various buildings that host many Christian students.
Father Tomasz Dubiel will celebrate his first Mass at St. Saviour Monastery, on Wednesday 11 February at 19h.
-by Nicolas Kimmel