It is good for all of us to ponder some words that Bishop Tony will read at the Ordination, a charge not just to Fr Miguel, and to all priests present, but words for all of us, a summary of the priestly ministry that he will offer for the people of God, on behalf of Christ, our Great High Priest:
Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.
With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord's table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name. They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need. They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.
If I was to pick two words to describe my own experience of being ordained all those years ago, I would have to say I was both humbled and affirmed. Despite my own inadequacies, I was called forth to serve as a minister of God and his Church. Despite my unworthiness, I was judged to be worthy and chosen as a candidate for ordination, ordained and commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and to serve at the altar during the Sacred Liturgy. It was truly humbling to be called to such a ministry, as it was also humbling to receive so much support and encouragement from all those who prayed with and for me, and who continue to do so.
As a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Tony will lay hands on Fr Miguel, ordaining him to assist the people of God in that same apostolic mission and calling. Please pray for Fr Miguel, and for Yaneth, Samuel and Xavier, as he approaches this great time. This prayer will be used in the Liturgy on June 27th:
Bishop: Let us pray for Miguel, and for the ministry of the whole people of God.
God our Father, Lord of all the world,
through your Son you have called us
into the fellowship of your universal Church:
hear our prayer for your faithful people that in their vocation and ministry
each may be an instrument of your love, and give to your servant Miguel
now to be ordained the needful gifts of grace;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Fr Miguel as Deacon at the Easter Vigil, as Fr David lights the Paschal Candle