Würzburg, Germany. “May the assisting presence of God be experienced through you.” This is what Bishop Franz Jung told the candidates for ordination as deacons on Friday, July 16, in the parish church of St. Adalbert in Würzburg. With the laying on of hands and prayer, the bishop ordained Claretian Missionaries Jacob Edathinattu, Evans Iregi, Xavier (Royson) Melvettom and Martins Omale as deacons. The four Claretian students are on their way to ordination to the priesthood. Provincial Superior, Fr. Callistus Joseph, referred to the four new deacons as a gift to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Deutschland Province.
For their part, the candidates for ordination had chosen three texts which Bishop Jung considered in his homily. The burning bush from the Book of Exodus, he noted, was a symbol of the places where God’s presence in the world burns.
“They know the anguish in their countries of origin. But the supposedly distant anguish also knocks at our door here: in migrants, people on the threshold of poverty, the impoverished and lonely all over the world because of COVID, those who suffer from the climate crisis and have to leave their homes.”
At the ordination liturgy, the candidates promised to learn to understand difficulties as a personal mission, just like Moses. The bishop wished them “an awakened heart and an attentive eye for the signs of God among the people to whom you are sent.”
The Ethiopian in the Acts of the Apostles is symbolic of the many people searching today, Bishop Jung continued. “Many, like him, embark on pilgrimages and journeys to draw closer to themselves and to God. Like the Ethiopian, many people read spiritual guides and pious writings.” But study alone usually does not take them any further. They need companions like Deacon Philip. “I wish that, guided by the Spirit of God, they would become useful companions for many contemporaries who are still searching.” Philip, however, could only answer the questions because he himself was familiar with the Word of God. Therefore, the Bishop wished the candidates for ordination that the Word of Sacred Scripture may become for them the word of life, so that they may find answers to their questions and be able to help others in their search for meaning and their longing for God.
In the Gospel, Jesus urged his disciples to abide in him. “Abiding can only be done by those who remain united to the Lord through living prayer,” said Bishop Jung. The deacons and priests prayed vicariously for everyone, including those who cannot pray, have forgotten how to pray or cannot find the time to pray. Jesus does not want servants, but friends, the Bishop continued. Many people serve God out of fear, or as hirelings who want to earn heaven. “He is perfectly served by those who truly serve him out of love,” he added. Such a person, he said, knows he is so blessed by his friendship with Jesus that he is willing to give back to the Lord all that he has received.
“Then you will go out and bear fruit, and then your fruit will stand before God.”
At the end of the Eucharist, Omale, on behalf of the four newly ordained, thanked all those who had accompanied them so far and those who had contributed to the celebration. He recalled a phrase he heard in college: “The reward for good work is more work”.
Jacob Edathinattu and Xavier Melvettom are from the Indian state of Kerala. After studying philosophy and working in mission posts, they studied theology in Granada (Spain). They made their perpetual profession in the Dreifaltigkeitsberg near Spaichingen (Baden-Württemberg). Evans Iregi comes from the district of Bungoma in Kenya (Africa). He studied philosophy in Uganda. After his novitiate in Kenya, he came to Frankfurt am Main and completed his theological studies there. He made his perpetual profession on September 8, 2020 in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Frankfurt am Main. Martins Omale comes from Nigeria. After studying philosophy, he came to Germany in the spring of 2017 and studied theology at the Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main. He made his perpetual profession on September 8, 2020 in Frankfurt am Main.