Rome (Wednesday, 12-16-2015, Gaudium Press) Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, ordained 44 Legionaries of Christ priests in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.
There were close to 3,000 persons present, including friends and family of the newly ordained priests. In his homily, Cardinal Stella said the 44 new Legionary priests are “a gift for the Church and humanity,” and therefore there are “many reasons to rejoice today.”
The words of the Cardinal focused on three characteristics of a priest: “chosen from among men,” “constituted in the things which refer to God,” and “sent into the world.”
The Cardinal reminded the new priests that the priesthood is not a career, in which man is the protagonist, but is rather an initiative of God to which a man responds with love. “It is good for a priest to maintain, for his whole life, the awareness of having been chosen…of the grace of that ‘first love’ from which is born a desire to do great things.”
He invited the new priests to foster a relationship of love with Christ and to give witness of the Gospel through service to others. He reminded them that today the Church has entrusted them with a mission in which “God’s pedagogical itinerary has come to completion. Christ consecrates you to Himself in order to give you as a gift to everyone.”
“To celebrate this priestly ordination at the beginning of the Year of Mercy helps us to experience the love of God which knows no limits. Each one of these new priests is called to be a living image of the merciful Father whom Jesus has revealed to us, by reaching out to those persons most in need, to those who suffer, to bring them the light of faith and the witness of love,” commented Father Ignacio Sarre, L.C., rector of one of the houses of formation of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome.
“We are very thankful to the Lord for these new priests,” said the General Director of the Legionaries, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C. “We have great hope in these young priests as we continue our path of renovation and service to others. It gives us great joy to see larger groups of men from countries such as Brazil and Colombia arrive to the priesthood, as they have much to offer our Congregation.”
The 44 new priests come from 11 different countries: Germany (2), Brazil (8), Canada (2), Colombia (6), Chile (2), Spain (2), United States (1), France (1), Italy (3), Mexico (16), Poland (1). They have obtained their philosophy and theology degrees from the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum, and their period of study and preparation – about 12 years – also included 3 years of pastoral work in different countries around the world.
Each one of the 44 priests has published their vocation story on the website: http://www.regnumchristi.org/sites/ordenaciones2015/en/
The newly ordained priests are already exercising their ministry around the world.
The Legion of Christ, a religious congregation within the Catholic Church, has a presence in 22 countries. It currently has 4 bishops, 954 priests, and 836 religious in formation, according to data from December 31, 2014.