Four Franciscan friars were ordained priests on 29 June, the solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, in St Saviour’s church in Jerusalem. The Mass was presided by the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa. In addition to the Custos of the Holy Land, fr. Sebastian Unsner, representing the Province of St Francis in Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius, where three of the new priests come from, was also present.
The new priests
The four new priests were presented by the Custos of the Holy Land, fr. Francesco Patton, after the proclamation of the Gospel. They come from Malawi, Kenya, Burundi and Congo. They had been sent to Jerusalem by their superiors for their theological studies, at the end of which they were ordained priests. In a few weeks they will return to their Provinces (St Francis in Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius and Our Lady of Africa). They are fr. Amose Daniel Mwale, fr. Joseph Wambugu Kinyanjui, fr. Philippe Nikiza, and fr. Jean Mogoda Kogba.
The good battle
The homily focused on the Pauline topic of the “good battle of the faith.” The Patriarch invited the new priests to always be watchful over their hearts and their relationship with God. He then commented on the “Gospel of Caesarea”: “Jesus asks the question which is at the origin of our faith and your vocation: ‘Who am I for you?’ If that question gives enthusiasm to your priestly life, then you will also become defenders of the faith and intrepid fighters of the “good battle.”
The rite of the ordination
The rite of the ordination took place after the homily. The candidates prostrated themselves, while the litanies of the saints were chanted. Immediately afterwards, the Patriarch recited the prayer of consecration. After this, they donned the priestly vestments (the stole and chasuble), were anointed with chrism oil and given the paten and the chalice. The new priests then went up to the altar to take part, as priests, in the consecration of the Bread and Wine.
Priests to serve
At the end of the Mass, the Custos spoke, urging them to: “Keep on being priests with the mentality of the service of deaconship.” He also had a word for the families of the new priests: “You welcomed your sons as a gift of God and today you are giving them back to Him, so that they can serve the people of God.”
The first Masses
As the Patriarch said, “From today, the Church will have four new ‘peaceful fighters’ of the faith.” The new priests will celebrate the “first Mass” in the Holy Land: fr. Joseph on 30 June at 7 a.m. at St Francis at the Cenacle; fr. Philippe on 1st July at 6 a.m. on Mount Calvary; fr. Amose on 2 July at 8.30 a.m. at St Saviour and fr. Jean on 2 July at 8 a.m. at Ein Karem.