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70 new priests ordained in one weekend in Mexican diocese

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In one historic weekend, the Cardinal Archbishop of Guadalajara, José Francisco Robles Ortega, ordained 70 men to the priesthood in two separate ceremonies held June 4 and 5 at the Mexican Martyrs Shrine in that city.

In the first ordination 33 priests were ordained and in the second, 37.

In addition, the cardinal ordained seven new deacons on June 3, also at the shrine in Guadalajara.

Father Juan Carlos Lupercio Gómez, the vice-rector of the Guadalajara seminary, told the archdiocese’s weekly publication that “it’s a blessing in the midst of this time in which we’re living — in many sectors — an environment without God.”

“It’s a sign that he himself, in the midst of adversity, keeps calling; the seeds of the Word (Jesus Christ) are scattered throughout the world,” he said.

“And God continues to call, his voice is powerful and there are still young hearts willing to continue to listen to the beat of His heart.”

Lupercio also recalled the memory and witness of St. Christopher Magellan and several of his fellow martyrs, who also received their formation at the Guadalajara seminary and later gave their lives in witness to Christ during the religious persecution that took place in Mexico in the 1920s.

Chosen to watch over the flock

In his homily for the June 4 ordination, Robles reminded the ordinands that they are not serving the world, but God and his people.

“The Holy Spirit is choosing you today to watch over the flock. And whose flock? The flock of Jesus Christ which he merited through his blood,” the cardinal said.

“It’s not even your flock, it’s not even our flock, it’s the flock of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is entrusted to you starting today by the election and anointing of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

The Mexican cardinal told the new priests that “you must never forget your origin” because “the priest is a man who has been called, has been chosen from among men.”

“The priest is not an angel, he’s not an alien, he’s not a superior being, he doesn’t belong to a strange caste. The priest is a man, chosen by God, taken by God from among his fellow men. This must not be forgotten,” Robles said.

Robles warned that “when the priest forgets his origin” he creates “distance between himself and between the community he is assigned to serve.”

If he acts in this way, the cardinal continued, “he usually sends a message: I’m superior, I’m more important, I’m the one who must be recognized and the one who must be served.”

“And when the priest takes on this attitude of superiority, of being above his fellow man, the priest becomes involved in this evil that sadly affects the Church and affects many: clericalism,” the cardinal said.

The archbishop of Guadalajara then pointed out that priests are “to serve men in the things of God, and that is what the people expect from a priest: a man of God, a man who speaks to them of God, a man to be the presence of God among them, to experience his love, to experience his mercy, to experience his salvation.”

The cardinal warned that “the world can enter our hearts, our minds, our person, our priesthood, and the world can make us its own and we forget that we belong to God, for the service of the brothers in the things that are of God.”

‘Making Jesus Christ present’

In his homily the following day, the Solemnity of Pentecost, Robles told the 37 men to be ordained that “the election, the consecration and the sending forth of these brother priests who are going to be ordained is patent proof of the action of the Holy Spirit.”

“The charism, the service of making present Christ the head, Christ the shepherd, Christ the spouse of his Church, this charism is received by each and every one of these brothers who is going to be ordained: the charism of making Jesus Christ present in the midst of his people.”

After recalling that the Holy Spirit raises up a “a variety and a richness of charisms” in the Catholic Church “for the good of all,” Robles stressed that “this great charism, this beautiful gift of representing Christ, does not obscure, does not nullify, any of the other charisms.”

“Never forget this: Your charism is not superior, it’s not greater, it’s not the only one. Your charism is for service, for the service of the other charisms that the Holy Spirit raises up in his Church,” he told the new priests.

Robles encouraged them that “the Spirit of the Lord will always animate you, renew you and always drive you forward. The Spirit of the Lord will strengthen and console you always.”

“The Spirit of the Risen Lord has descended as a gift, and it’s a gift that remains,” he said, adding that “it’s a gift that has remained with our poor humanity until the end of time.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA. 

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70 new priests ordained in one weekend in Mexican diocese