A friend in France, who got it from a friend in Mexico, who got it from a friend in Argentina, sent me this. It’s a letter that Pope Francis wrote to the seminarians of his diocese who were ordained deacons (in preparation for the priesthood) a few days ago. I did my best at translating.
“For Monsignor Sucunza:
Joaquín, please read this during the Deaconate Ordination after the ceremony.
Dear Sons and Brothers:
You don’t know how much I wanted to be among you today! Nevertheless know for sure that I am with you spiritually.
You have just received the deaconate and you’ve manifested in public your vocation to serve… And this is not just for a time, but for your whole life. May your priestly existence be service: service to Jesus Christ, service to the Church, service to your brothers especially the poorest and most in need. Don’t be “deacons-for-rent” nor functionaries. The Church is not an NGO [non-governmental organization.] May you spend your lives in service. Give it everything you’ve got. [Literally, “put the flesh on the grill” !]
I pray for each one of you, for your dreams and sorrows. And don’t forget that Jesus looked at you; let yourselves be looked at by Jesus. Please, pray for me. May Jesus bless you, and the Blessed Virgin take care of you.
|Letter from Pope Francis to the deacons of Buenos Aires before their ordination as priests|
If all goes well, I will be ordained a deacon June 29th here in Rome. I’ve been preparing for this for nineteen years, and you’d think I’d be beyond ready for it. But honestly, the things that come to mind are more like: “ Wow”, “This is serious”, “This is for life”, “You’re giving your life away”, “Are you really sure you want to do this?” “Are you crazy, thinking you can be faithful for life to a God you can’t even see?” “You know, if you’re doing this for the wrong reasons, you will be so miserable!”
“Don’t be ‘deacons-for-rent’ nor functionaries,” Pope Francis says. Amen! Priests and Deacons are ministers of God, they dedicate their lives to God to serve God’s people. What a sad life if they’re in it for the wrong reasons! That’s a question I’ve asked myself a hundred times- am I in this for me or am I in this for God? Pope Benedict said a similar thing that got me thinking in his Letter to Seminarians: “The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God.”
Francis is giving great advice for future priests, and I am so grateful for it. And to think that in the hustle and bustle of his first few days as Pope he cared enough to hand-write a letter to these deacons! I think that his advice is so powerful because he lived it first. “May your priestly existence be service.” Amen!
It’s been one wonderful week with our new Pope, and hopefully this is just the beginning.
God bless you,
PS – I’ll be on EWTN radio tomorrow at 7:15am Eastern Time on the “Son Rise Morning Show” with Annie Mitchell to talk a little bit about Pope Francis and a lot about the Church-a-thon (www.churchathon.org). If you’d like to listen, tune in to your local EWTN Radio affiliate or go to www.sacredheartradio.com !