By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, will ordain nine deacons to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Basilica, on 25 April, which coincides with the liturgical celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday.
The Mass will begin at 9:00 am, and will be broadcast live on Vatican Media, Telepace, Tv2000 and on the Facebook page of the diocese of Rome.
In-person participation at the ordinations will be strictly in compliance with Covid-19 health regulations, including body temperature checks, wearing of masks and hand sanitization.
Formed in different places
A statement issued on Monday by the Press Office of the Vicariate of Rome said the deacons are currently observing a spiritual retreat at a monastery in preparation for their ordination.
They all studied in various diocesan seminaries. Six of them – Georg Marius Bogdan, Salvatore Marco Montone, Manuel Secci, Diego Armando Barrera Parra, Salvatore Lucchesi and Giorgio de Iuri – were formed at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary.
Two others, Riccardo Cendamo and Samuel Piermarini, studied at the diocesan Redemptoris Mater College, while Mateus Henrique Ataide da Cruz was trained at the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love.
The statement also provides some insight into the personal stories of the deacons.
Georg Marius Bogdan from Romania said that that his desire to become a priest was inspired by a book he read when he was 9 years old, on the life St. John Bosco – the founder of the Salesians.
The example of St. John Bosco is also a source of inspiration for Salvatore Marco Montone from Calabria who recounts that on the day of his baptism, the priest covered him with a stole because they had run out of white robes for the children. He recalls that the call of the Lord became apparent to him during Eucharistic adoration in church one night while he lived at the Salesian university residence in the Parish of San Giovanni Bosco. Salvatore also has some experience of the “field hospital church” of which Pope Francis speaks in his service to the poor while working with the diocesan Caritas.
Diego Armando Barrera Parra, from Colombia, volunteered since after high school at a juvenile prison and in a foundation for drug addicts. There, he says, “my desire to be able to help and serve others forever was born.”
Manuel Secci who grew up in Torre Angela in the parish of Sts. Simon and Jude Thaddeus, says his vocation was nurtured by the “sense of community and the beautiful experiences” he has had.
43-year-old Salvatore Lucchesi, who hails from Sicily, gives thanks to God for his call to him during his adolescence, when he moved to Rome for university studies. In prayer, he says, “I had a direct experience of the fact that the Lord was there and did not ask anything of me. This is the grace, the free love of the Lord.”
Mateus Enrique Ataide de Cruz, from Brazil, has lived in Rome for seven years. He recalls that at the age of 15, when he started working for an old man, he was required to pray with him and recite the Rosary as part of his contract. What he first experienced as an imposition has now become a “necessity” for him.
Riccardo Cendamo, 40, who had dreams of being a filmmaker, recounts: “If I look back now, I realize that the call to the priestly vocation had always been there, that love had to mature.”
Finally, Samuel Piermarini, who gave up a football (soccer) contract, and entered in to Redemptoris Mater College to be formed for the priesthood, expresses his eagerness in anticipation of the ordination on Sunday.