Called in Grace, Formed in Love, Sent to Serve - Priestly Ordinations 2020
3rd December 2020 was a memorable day for the Community of St Pius X Seminary and for the Archdiocese of Bombay. It was the day that six Deacons, after a long wait of eight months, were ordained to the Priesthood by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, in the beautiful chapel of St Pius X College under the magnificent mosaic of the Last Supper during which Jesus instituted the Priesthood. Due to the precarious situation of the covid-19 crisis, the number of those attending was limited to close family members of each of the ordinandi and the mass was live-streamed on YouTube. Those ordained were Frs Clifton Mendonca, Cedric Rosario, Godfrey Malu, Joseph David, Kelvin Santis and Frankie Crasto, who articulated their motto as “Called in Grace, Formed in Love, Sent to Serve”.
In preparation for the ordinations, a prayer service was held on 2nd December, where the Fathers and Seminarians prayed for the Deacons and their future ministry as Priests. Fr Aniceto Pereira, the Rector, addressed all gathered, and especially the deacons, about the challenges that they will experience as they begin a new phase in their lives, a phase that they have been preparing for more than eight years. Referring to the recent reflections of Pope Francis in his book, ‘Let us dream’, he reflected on how there are “covid moments” in our lives, moments of great suffering; if we allow them to change us then we become better persons. So the Deacons too would need to embrace the covid moments in their own lives so that Our Lord can transform and mould each one as per his designs.
During the Mass, the Cardinal spoke on the new facet of ministry that they will now be exposed to due to the covid pandemic. Things are unlike before, and it will seem like a whole new world; however, this should not deter anyone from exercising his pastoral ministry to those in need. His Eminence said that, as the Holy Father insists, we should not just be prepared for the future, but rather prepare the future. Further he exhorted them to understand that an imperative part of their ministry is to know the flock and, as Pope Francis says, ‘to have the smell of the sheep’. Ordained in the pandemic and being the youngest batch of priests, he asked them to share their ideas and experiences with the other members of the presbyterium. The ordinations taking place on the feast of the Apostle of India and the Patron of the Archdiocese of Bombay - St Francis Xavier, the Cardinal also spoke about the apostolic fervor shown by this great saint in the ten years of his missionary activities, where he worked unceasingly to spread the Gospel of Christ to the furthest corners of the earth. He invited the ordinandi to imbibe the same apostolic zeal in their future ministry.
Though not a very grand affair, it was certainly one that was filled with joy and grace. While we bid adieu to our dear brothers, we wish them God’s choicest blessings in their ministry and all their endeavors, that they may be serve God and his people in love and joy, thus being true Ambassadors for Christ.
Br. Dorson D. D'Mello
2nd Year Philosophy