Today, Friday 28 August 2020, the Feast of Saint Augustine, Callum Douglas Young and Juan Jesus Gonzales Borrallo were ordained as Deacons in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh. Deacons Callum and Juan are seminarians of the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocese Missionary Seminary, which is situated in Dundalk, Co Louth.
During his homily, Archbishop Eamon said, “In a few moments, immediately after the rite of ordination, Callum and Juan Jesus will come forward and, as they kneel in front of me, I will place the Book of the Gospels in their hands and say to each of them: Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practise what you teach.
“For me it sums up one of the central roles of a deacon, and indeed of a priest – to be a herald of the Gospel – to receive the Word of God: to read it and meditate carefully on it; to believe it; to proclaim it, to share it and teach it; and, of course to act upon it – to put it into practice.”
The Primate of All Ireland encouraged Callum and Juan, “Never underestimate the power of God’s Word, written in our hearts: to teach; to motivate; to enlighten; to challenge; to change; to inspire; to humble and chasten; to encourage; to convert!”
Drawing on the inspiration of Saint Augustine, Archbishop Eamon said, “The great Saint Augustine – whose feast we celebrate today – describes a significant moment in his conversion: while sitting in the garden he hears the voice of a young child chanting, as if in a rhyme: ‘Tolle, Lege’; ‘Tolle; Lege’; ‘Pick up and Read’. Opening his Bible at random, Augustine finds chapter 13, verse 13 of Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, where Saint Paul is urging us to abandon the works of the flesh, to give up the way of the senses and instead to clothe ourselves in Christ. For Augustine it was a moment when he could at last hear clearly his personal call, inspired by the Word – to dedicate his life to God.
“Callum and Juan, I encourage you: ‘Tolle; Lege’. Pick up and read the Word of God every day as deacons and as priests. And do not keep that Word to yourselves. Be like that good man from Kerala, or one of the monks of old, and let the Word of God sink into your mind and heart and from there pour out on your lips and be visible in your daily actions.”
Towards the end of today’s ceremony, speaking directly to the newly ordained deacons, Archbishop Eamon emphasised, “Be chaste and beyond reproach before God and before people, as is proper for a minister of Christ and for a steward of God’s mysteries. Never allow yourself to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel. As I said earlier, you are now not only hearers of this Gospel but its ministers and teachers and living witnesses!
“Express by your actions the Word of God which your lips proclaim. Then on the last day, when you go out to meet the Lord you will be able to hear him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord’.”