News from the Small Formation Group in Jerusalem
Isaac Kinda, student in SGF Jerusalem
“You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” (Mt5:13-16). It was in the light of these words of Christ that Calvin and Trésor made a final commitment to the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. The ceremony took place on November 28th in the rather unusual context of covid-19 restrictions. Mass was presided over in the Basilica of Saint Anne by the Apostolic Nuncio of Jerusalem. Given the situation we live in, the number of guests for the celebration was limited. We were about 30 people only. But this did not affect the quality of the celebration.
There were two distinct moments that marked the Eucharistic celebration. The first is the Missionary Oath. Calvin and Trésor solemnly promised, before God and the congregation, to live the demands of the evangelical counsels, namely, poverty, obedience and celibacy. The words they pronounced were words that came from deep down in their hearts, testifying to their desire to follow Christ and to participate in His saving mission which is to proclaim the gospel to all. They did so in the presence of Joe, the representative of the Superior General.
The new confreres were joyfully congratulated by their elders. The gesture of love that each of the confreres made to the new members already showed that they are ready to live with them in love and solidarity for the mission of Christ.
Then came the time to listen to the liturgical texts chosen by the confreres themselves for the occasion.
The first reading, taken from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (Is 61:1-3), invited all of us (in particular the confreres who have received a mandate from Christ), “to bring the gospel to the poor, to heal wounded hearts, to proclaim freedom to the captives and deliverance to the prisoners.” In the second reading, Saint Paul said to his son Timothy (2Tim 1:6-14), “I invite you to revive the spiritual gift that God has put in you by the laying on of my hands.” And he continues, “Take as your standard the holy words which you have heard from me in the faith and love of Christ Jesus. ‘These words also invite the confreres to also place the Word of God at the heart of their lives. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew (Mt 5:13-16), Jesus himself invited us to be salt of the earth and the light of the world.
In his homily, the main celebrant invited the two confreres to live out the ministry of the diaconate to the full through the proclamation of the Word of God in a life of service. He reminded them that the deacon has two main functions: the service of the Mysteries of Christ and the service of men and women. These two dimensions of service are at the heart of the deacon’s life. Likewise, he also reminded the elect of the day, the origin and purpose of the ministry of the diaconate, instituted after a complaint by the widows of the Greeks, who saw themselves forgotten in the distribution of goods. Deacons were chosen to take special care of them, so that the apostles could mainly proclaim the Word of God. Therefore, like Jesus, Calvin and Trésor are called to serve others, not to be served. The Word of God must be proclaimed without compromise and without fear.
The second moment was devoted to the ordination of the two confreres. After having received the permission of the Rector, the Nuncio proceeded with the ordination. And it was with reverence that the assembly implored the mercy of God, and prayed over the confreres to the Saints to intercede for the confreres. By laying his hands on them, the bishop established them as servants of the Word and of the people of God. They are to assist the bishop or priest at the altar. They may preside over certain sacraments of the Church. They are also invited to live what they preach and preach what they live.
At the end of Mass, successively, one of the elect of the day and the Rector addressed a word of thanks to all those who had come and in particular to the Apostolic Nuncio for having accepted to ordain the fellow deacons. We wish them a good ministry. After the Eucharistic celebration, all were invited to share a fraternal meal with the new confreres and the whole community.