Patriarch Sako to the new priests: The priesthood must take all your being, i.e. your thoughts, feelings and activity
Patriarch Sako on Sunday 18thydecember2022, ordained three new priests: Jose Manuel Martinez. Bashar Bassim. Ayden Elia in Saint Joseph cathedral in Baghdad. The apostolic Nuncio. Spanish, Italian and Australian ambassadors were presents.
One of the most impressing moments for me, in celebrating priesthood ordination, is when I invite the candidate to profess his faith, and announce his willingness to dedicate his life for Christ by serving his brethren, then to hear his answer enthusiastically: “Yes, here I am”.
After that, I have to cut “a lock of his hair”, as a symbol of choosing him for service. Since priesthood is a grace rather than an entitlement, he will show humility, obedience and thanksgiving by kneeling down at the beginning of each prayer and psalm.
Anointing his palms with chrism, means that the Holy Spirit descends upon him, a blessing of dedication to fulfil God’s plan for him.
Priesthood ordination is a consecration process through which the candidate: presents his being, thoughts, and feelings, for God. Therefore, priesthood is not a job to make money for living.
In general, consecration starts with a strong enthusiasm. In order to maintain the flame and avoid any decline over time, a consecrated person should learn how to constantly renew his dedication.
How to do that:
- Prayer, should not be a routine action, but a way to nourishes priest’s relationship with God. Prayer should be his existential breathing, and a source of peace, serenity, safety and joy. He must also do a daily meditative reading of the word of God to direct his life and hope. Especially that our faith focuses on the “Word of God” is Christ.
- Relationship with the Church, to work in harmony together as one team achieving the goals of the same mission.
- Relationship with community (people in general), to carry them in his heart and be devoted to serve, listen, and take care of them, as a father, a brother and a friend with open arms like Christ, especially in these complicated circumstances.
My beloved: Jose, Bashar and Ayden: My advice to you is:
- Be united with the heart of Christ, directing everything to Him so that your heart becomes similar to His sacred heart.
- Be witnesses of His love, forgiveness and salvation.
In conclusion, I thank you for your “dedication” to the “priceless” priesthood at such difficult time, in which society is gradually losing human and spiritual values, and is turning towards consumption, pleasure and individualism. Please hold on your faith and hope.
Finally, I thank all those who contributed to nurture your faith, particularly, parents, Church and “teachers” at the seminaries, preparing you for this special day.
We appreciate the presence of everyone here at this Cathedral, this ordination, is a sign of hope for our Church.
Thank you for participating in praying for our new priests.
God bless you all.