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The Entire Church Rejoices with your Priestly Ordination

May 11, 2015

Tags: Love of God, Church, Opus Dei prelate, Priesthood, Sacraments, Vocation, Josemaria Escriva, Opus Dei members
On May 9, in Rome, Bishop Javier Echevarría conferred priestly ordination on 32 faithful of the prelature of Opus Dei. The ceremony took place in the basilica of San Eugenio. The new priests come from 14 countries: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland and Taiwan.

Bishop Javier Echevarría conferred priestly ordination on 32 faithful of the prelature of Opus Dei
Bishop Javier Echevarría conferred priestly ordination on 32 faithful of the prelature of Opus Dei
In his homily, the Prelate told the new priests that “the entire Church rejoices with your priestly ordination." And citing words of Pope Francis, he urged them to always be cheerful, because “the cheerfulness of the priest is a precious good, not only for himself but for the whole people of God."

Bishop Echevarría reminded them that “the priesthood is a gratuitous call that God addresses to certain men for the service of the Church, without reference to one's own merits or other considerations." And he added: “Let us give thanks to our Lord for his goodness and let us pray for them and for all priests . . . At the same time, I also suggest that you pray for all the families in the world, since it is in the heart of Christian homes that God normally raises up, as in a nursery, the various forms of the vocation to sanctity."
The cheerfulness of the priest is a precious good, not only for himself but for the whole people of God.

“Dear ordinands," the Prelate continued, “realize that from now on you will be ministers and dispensers of God's mysteries. You will explain to everyone the word of God; you will dispense his grace in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist and in Penance. You will guide the Christian people to the safe pastures of eternal life, and you will help souls to know ever better the marvels of Christian life." He encouraged them to reflect on some words of Saint Josemaría, founder of Opus Dei: “a priest is not a psychologist, nor a sociologist, nor an anthropologist: he is another Christ, Christ himself, to serve the souls of his brothers and sisters."

Bishop Echevarría invited the new priests to “celebrate Holy Mass as well as possible. In the Sacrifice of the Altar we all find, priests and lay people, the grace we need for our own holiness and for the holiness of the faithful."


Homily at the Priestly Ordination of Deacons of the Prelature of Opus Dei


Dear new priests. Dear brothers and sisters.

1. In the Collect, we have asked God for the grace to livewith heartfelt devotion, these days of joy which we keep in honor of the risen Lord (1). The priestly ordination of these deacons emphasizes in a tangible way the Paschal joy that fills the Church. I am sure that this joy – as Pope Francis said not long ago – “has penetrated deep within our hearts; it has shaped them and strengthened them sacramentally” (2). This is true of all Christians, given that each one ofus, in Baptism and Confirmation, has been anointed by the Holy Spirit, who has configured us with Christ and has made us participants of his sole priesthood. Today, in a different way, these brothers of ours will receive a new anointment from the Paraclete, which will configure them with Christ as Head of the Church, and will grant them powers to carry out their priestly ministry, in the name and with the authority of Christ himself.

For you, my sons, it is a day of particular happiness. And, together with you, the whole Church rejoices. “Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God” (3).

2. The vocation to the priesthood is a gratuitous call that God directs to some men, as a service to the Church, without taking into account prior merits or other considerations. This is how God acts, as the first reading of the Mass tells us. Faced with the meanness of heart of some, who were opposed to the baptism of the first gentiles, St Peter explains to them that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him (4).

We can recognize the greatness of our Lord’s love – and we cannot know just how infinite it is – also by taking a look at the places of origin of the new priests, who come from four continents and fifteen countries. Let’s give thanks to our Lord for his goodness and let’s pray for them and for all priests throughout the world. We should remember that the Trinity speaks to each one of us, through the most varied of circumstances too. At the same time, I urge you to pray for all families of the world; after all, it is in Christian homes that God tends to cultivate – as in a garden – the various forms of the calling to sanctity.

The priesthood, I was saying, is a gratuitous call, but it is of fundamental importance in the Church. St Josemaria writes many things depend on the priest: we have God, we bring God, we give God (...). Think about this, about that divinization of even our body; about that tongue which draws others to God; about those hands that touch Him, about that power to work miracles, when administering grace. All the great things of this world are worth nothing, in comparison to what God has entrusted to the priest (5).

3. And you, beloved ordinands, reflect on the fact that from now on you will be ministers and dispensers of the mysteries of God. You will explain to others the Word of God; you will administer grace through the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist and Penance; you will lead the Christian people to the pastures of eternal life, with your prayer and your good example too; and you will be a support for souls so as to help them recognize more and more the wonders of Christian life.
The new priests come from 14 countries.
The new priests come from 14 countries.

In a recent ordination of priests, Pope Francis said the following: “Aware that you have been chosen from among men and have been established in the things of God, carry out with joy and sincere charity the priestly work of Christ, seeking only to please God and not yourselves” (6).

Therefore – in the words of our Founder – a priest should be exclusively a man of God. He should reject any desire to shine in areas where other Christians do not need him. A priest is not a psychologist or a sociologist or an anthropologist. He is another Christ, Christ himself, who has to look after the souls of his brothers (7).

4. I wanted to take a moment to touch on a few points related to your future ministry, and in the first place, the preaching of the Word of God. Ex abundantia cordis, os loquitur, states our Lord in the Gospel (8). To speak about God, draw from the abundance of your heart in close union with his Heart; to do so it is necessary that you take special care of our daily meditation, going ever deeper with the help of the Holy Spirit in the contents of Sacred Scripture.

Let’s raise our pleas each day for the Pope, for bishops, for priests, for all of humanity.
With regards to the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Penance, try always to give absolution; and if some individual is not well disposed, help him or her with your patience, with charity, with spirit of sacrifice. Our Lord was merciful with sinners and He called them to conversion. And St Josemaria, who always sought to act with a heart to the measure of the merciful heart of Jesus, did not hesitate when he wrote: when caring for souls in the Holy Sacrament of Penance, remember that passage of the Gospel, when our Lord, in response to the question about how many times we ought to forgive, responded: I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven (Mt 18:22). Always: forgive always, also in the Sacrament of Penance. I have never had any difficulties in forgiving – on many occasions on the same day – many faults ofthe same kind and done by the same person, because non est opus valentibus medicus, sed male habentibus (Mt 9:12); it is not those who are healthy, but those who are sick that are in need of a doctor. At the same time, you should do whatever it takes so that souls do not abuse divine grace (9).

The Eucharist! Words cannot express the wonders of the Eucharistic sacrament. Strive each day to celebrate the Holy Mass as best you can. In the sacrifice of the altar, all of us – priests and lay persons – find the grace we need for our personal sanctification and for the sanctification of the faithful. Together with St Josemaria I implore you, don’t rush!

I congratulate once again your parents, your relatives and friends, all taking part in this ceremony, and those that cannot be present here today. I ask each of you to pray for the new priests; they truly count on your petitions before God to be worthy ministers of He who has loved them with special love and has called themfriends (10).

Please remember to pray for me as well. And let’s raise our pleas each day for the Pope, for bishops, for priests, for all of humanity.

We entrust these intentions to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, in this month of May that we have begun, dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin.

Praised be Jesus Christ!


(1) Sunday VI of Easter, Collect.
(2) POPE FRANCIS, Homily at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, 17-IV-2014.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Sunday VI of Easter, Reading I (B) (Acts 10:34-35).
(5) SAINT JOSEMARIA, Letter 8-VIII-1956, n. 17.
(6) POPE FRANCIS, Homily in a priestly ordination, 26-IV-2015.
(7) SAINT JOSEMARIA, Christ is Passing By, n. 79.
(8) Mt 12:34.
(9) SAINT JOSEMARIA,Letter 8-VIII-1956, n. 30.
(10) Cf. Sunday VI of Easter, Gospel (B) (Jn 15:14).


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