Cardinal Robert Sarah Ordains 31 Priests of the Prelature (May 5, 2018)

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, ordained 31 new priests of the Opus Dei Prelature, from 15 countries, in a ceremony that took place on Saturday, May 5, in the Roman basilica of Saint Eugene.

“The Bible presents the priest as a man of the Word of God,” he said during the homily. “Contemporary man goes to the priest seeking Christ. About other topics (whether economic, social or political) they have so many other competent persons they can consult.” In Sacred Scripture, “the priest is also presented as the man of pardon.” “Like the holy Curé of Ars or Padre Pio, the priest is the apostle of the confessional, as Pope Francis reminded us a few days ago.”

Cardinal Sarah also referred to the priest as the “friend of Christ.” A friend who is recognized in a special way in the Eucharist, because “there is no Eucharist without priesthood, just as there is no priesthood without the Eucharist.” That is why,” he added, “each day we need the Eucharist to live out our priesthood and to be daring messengers of the Gospel in the midst of the sufferings, difficulties and hostilities that we encounter.” He invited the new priests to seek holiness and to be men “of deep inner life.” Quoting St. Josemaría, he stressed that “the path that leads to holiness is a path of prayer; and prayer ought to take root and grow in the soul little by little, like the tiny seed which later develops into a tree with many branches” (Friends of God, nos. 294-295).

The priesthood is service to the Church and to all souls. “As you have learned from St. Josemaría and from all his successors, always be very loyal to the Roman Pontiff, to the bishops, successors of the Apostles, and to your Prelate. Love the priests in each diocese; beg the Lord constantly to send many laborers for his harvest, to send many holy priests, as guardians to feed the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood (Acts 20:28).”

The Cardinal also congratulated the parents and families of the new priests: “From today on, you will have someone with your own blood interceding for you before God. At the same time, we all need to pray for them even more than before, since the responsibility they have taken on is great.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Cardinal gave each of the new priests a rosary and a small icon of Our Lady of Tenderness. “I want to give these to you,” he told them, “so that you may unite yourselves more closely to Holy Mary, and to remind you to also pray for me.”

The new priests are: Pablo González-Villalobos Bergamo (Spain), Francisco Javier Fernández Centeno (Spain), Agustín Alfredo Silberberg Muiño (Argentina), Alejandro Gratacós Casacuberta (Spain), Juan José Velasco Fernández (Spain), Antonio Vargas-Machuca Salido (Spain), Francis Anthony Jose Inzon Ong III (Philippines), Francisco Felipe Nieto López (Spain), Gonzalo Trelles Villanueva (Spain), Juan Suárez-Lledó Grande (Spain), Ignacio María Varela Vega (Uruguay), Luis Poveda Talavera ( Spain), Manuel Ignacio Candela Temes (Spain), Alberto de Ángel Castel (Spain), Michele Crosa di Vergagni (Italy), Jorge Segarra Taús (Spain), Àngel Miquel Aymar (Slovakia), Jude Kasirima Karuhanga (Uganda), Pedro Emeka Okafor (Nigeria), Alfred Robert Cruz Vergara (Philippines), Pierre Laffon de Mazières (France), Frederick Vincent Ifechukwude Oraegbu (Nigeria), Yao N’zian Jean Eudes Téhia (Ivory Coast), Raphael Rezende Fernandes (Brazil), Anthony Elobuike Asogwa (Nigeria), Martijn Sebastian Pouw (Holland), Ignacio Ramoneda Pérez del Pulgar (Spain), Alberto José Ospina Sánchez (Colombia), José Guillermo Muñoz Maldonado (Colombia), Donatus Dedan Wainaina (Kenya) and Manuel Alejandro Vielma Alvarado (Venezuela ).

Romana, n. 66, January-June 2018, p. 161-162.

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