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Diaconate

Basilica of the Assumption

Friends and brothers in Christ, Gonzalo, Marc, Hector and Edward, you have come to this Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to receive the Church’s call to serve. Each of you will be empowered by God’s grace to pattern your life after the example of Christ, the servant – diaconos. While Edward will pledge life-long service as a permanent deacon, and Gonzalo, Marc and Hector as transitional deacons, all of you will be character-ized as deacon, servant, for the rest of your lives. I know that you have looked to this day and this liturgy as life-defining, entering an Order with deep biblical roots, rich sacramental graces and varied ministerial duties. And the readings you have chosen for this Mass of Ordination offer ample evidence that you are well aware of this sacrament’s power to change your life in a radical way and strengthen you for service to our Church.

Amigos, ustedes que pronto serán diáconos de la Iglesia, esta Misa de Ordenación está llena de las Gracias de Diós, Gracias que ustedes renovarán, y de las que ustedes sacarán fuerzas a través de todas sus vidas.

          You have just heard God’s call to Jeremiah the prophet, a farm boy from a country steeped in the past, called forth like some of you, far beyond his place of birth. He is to enter the world’s most cosmopolitan of cities of the world with a message from God that will almost surely be rejected. And Jeremiah suspects that.

          Though half of the average accumulated age of you and far less prepared theologically, his objections of youth and ignorance are overruled by a God who would supply everything necessary for his mission. The touch of his mouth resulted in a kind of divine-word-implant. Like Jeremiah, the deacon is a minister of God’s Word.

Ustedes son más maduros y más sabíos que Jeremías, pero al igual que a él, esta mañana  la Palabra de Diós tomará posesión de ustedes.

          This diaconate ordination will, in its own way deepen the identity of each of you into the Word of God, Christ, the Word made Flesh, whom you will proclaim and preach from the Church’s pulpit. I will soon hand each of you the book of the Gospels with the exhortation:

                   Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become.

                   Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice

                   What you teach.

Al aceptar los Libros de los Evangelios, ustedes serán los guardiánes de la memoria de la Iglesia, y predicarán la Sabiduría de Dios.

          At the center of your prayerful pondering of God’s Word must be your loving commitment to the Liturgy of the Hours, the Breviary. St. Augustine reminds us that as we recite the psalms Jesus himself continues to pray and sing for his whole Church through us. Cardinal Newman, for his part, advises that one who has not accustomed himself to the language of heaven will not be fit to inhabit heaven. Many hours a week you will cradle this language of heaven in your hands, praying to God that your people will one day be worthy inhabitants of heaven. Be convinced, as you do, that the whole Church and all of creation joins you in that universal prayer of praise.

Al recitar la Liturgia de las Horas ustedes renovarán las gracias de la Eucaristía durante todo el día.

          You have chosen the familiar call of the first of deacons in the Acts of the Apostles as your New Testament reading. They were ordained to serve at tables in much the same way slaves would do in those days.

          Their waiting on tables represents two additional ministries that you will enjoy as deacon. From earliest days the deacon was commissioned to be “the bishop’s ear and eye and mouth, and heart and soul” in the Church’s care for the poor and needy. You will soon be ordained members of the Church’s servant class, your diaconal hearts wide open with eyes for the materially and spiritually poor, for those in distress or despair, unloved or unappreciated by others. What opportunities for service and charity will be yours in this flourishing archdiocese. But such charity will have no existence unless exercised from this moment forward, toward those immediately about you, family, friends, and seminaries.

Ustedes tienen que ser íconos vivientes, testígos vivos del amor de Cristo por todas las gentes.

          The Sacramental table at which you serve we call an altar of sacrifice. As ministers of the altar you will be the closest assistants to the bishop and priest at the Eucharistic celebration.  You will make petition on behalf of God’s People, you will receive their gifts of bread and wine, call the faithful to repentance and to peace, distribute the Lord’s sacred Body and Blood, and, finally, dismiss the People of God to take his Word to a hungry world. Your service at the altar will be genuinely and transparently holy if sprung from the conviction that it is primarily here that we encounter the All-Holy One, the Infinite God of the universe.

Cuando se acerquen al Altar del Sacrificio, estén siempre concientes de que se acercan a Dios, que es toda Santidad.

          Finally, in a most significant moment soon to come, you will solemnly pledge, “In the presence of God and the Church and as a sign of (your) interior dedication to Christ, to remain celibate for the sake of the Kingdom and in lifelong service to God and mankind.”

          Lest your consent to a life of virginal celibacy be thought of as a burden, I remind you that the call to celibacy is a charism – a gift from God inviting and empowering you to imitate Jesus in his total gift of self to his Father on behalf of the Church. Throughout his life and death, Jesus demonstrates that only God – no creature – is worthy of absolute love. Celibate temptations there will be – as there are temptations in marriage and single life. See such temptations as opportunities to deepen and strengthen your celibate commitment. And the grace of the diaconate, along with those very personal graces that God will give to you each day – often through the support of family and friends – will enable you truly to love all and possess no one.  Today you will offer whole-hearted and full-bodied self to God and his Church, as Christ did and as he continues to do through ministers such as each of you are soon to be.

          Some might view celibacy for the kingdom as an aberration – and so it could be. But none other than a minister of the Protestant Church of the Nazarene has praised celibacy for the aberration that it is. In his own words, celibacy “is, in its own way, as much of an aberration as a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the life of his buddies, or as God dying on a cross.”

Permitan que su celibato, por la gracia de Diós, sea un signo para todos del amor total de Cristo por Su Padre y por Su Cuerpo que es la Iglesia.

          And so we will now celebrate the ordination rite itself. You will be surrounded by joyful ministers of the church, family and friends from near and far who thank each of you for hearing the whispered invitation of God, accepting his word and generously pledging yourselves to spend your lives in his service.

Ahora que comie'nzan éste ministerio santo y nuevo, estén seguros amigos, y mis hijos en Cristo, Gonzalo, Marco, Héctor y Eduardo, de mis oraciones agradecídas, y del apoyo de sus familias, amigos, y de toda la Iglesia.