By Vatican News staff writer
As the Church marks Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with the Rite of Ordination of Priests.
The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, ordained nine deacons to the priesthood. They are: Georg Marius Bogdan, Salvatore Marco Montone, Manuel Secci, Diego Armando Barrera Parra, Salvatore Lucchesi, Giorgio de Iuri, Riccardo Cendamo, Samuel Piermarini, and Mateus Henrique Ataide da Cruz.
Expression of Christ’s priesthood
In his homily, Pope Francis urged the nine men to focus their gaze always on Christ as they serve His people.
He said their ministry is an expression of Christ’s own office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd.
“Priests,” said the Pope, “are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”
He added that their task is to “preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.”
The Pope then stressed that in becoming priests “you will be like Him: a shepherd”. This, he continued “is not a career”, but “a service”.
Pope Francis asked the priests to adopt four forms of closeness in their service.. “closeness to God, closeness to the Bishop, closeness to each other and closeness to the people of God”.
All these, he continued, must be performed with “a style of compassion and tenderness”.