On Sunday, April 25, at 9:00 a.m., the celebration of priestly ordination will take place in St. Peter's Basilica. The ordained deacons were formed in the institutes of the diocese of Rome: six studied at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, two at the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College and one at the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love.
The Bishop of Rome
Pope Francis, as Bishop of Rome, is once again ordaining priests for his diocese. Last year the presbyteral ordinations were postponed and celebrated by Cardinal Vicar Angelo de Donatis at St. John Lateran because of the pandemic; but on Sunday, April 25, at 9 a.m., the Holy Father will again preside over the rite in St. Peter's Basilica and on Good Shepherd Sunday.
There are nine young men who will be consecrated - at this moment they are in a spiritual retreat of preparation in a monastery - and who were formed in the different diocesan seminaries. As we have already mentioned, six of them studied at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary: Georg Marius Bogdan, Salvadore Marco Montone, Manuel Secci, Diego Armando Barrera Parra, Salvatore Lucchesi and Giorgio di Iuri. Two were trained at the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College - Riccardo Cendamo and Samuel Piermarini - and one at the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love, Mateus Henrique Ataide da Cruz.
The celebration will be broadcast live on Vatican Media, Telepace, Tv2000 and on the Facebook page of the Diocese of Rome.
The example of Don Bosco
Georg Marius Bogdan, originally from Romania, first attended the Pontifical Minor Seminary and then the Major Seminary. "My desire to become a priest," he says, "was born as a child, as I was nine years old and was reading a book entitled 'Life of St. John Bosco.' I dreamed of being like him."
The example of Don Bosco was also important for Salvadore Marco Montone, a thirty-two-year-old Calabrian who moved to the Eternal City for his university studies. "I was born on Good Friday 1989 - he recounts - and on the day of my baptism, a few months later, they had run out of white robes for children, so the priest covered me with a stole. I have no memories, of course, but my parents always tell me about it....."
Salvatore spent his childhood in the Salesian oratory in Spezzano Albanese, and when he arrived in Rome he found lodging in the Salesian university residence in the parish of San Giovanni Bosco. "Here, one night," he recalls, "during Eucharistic adoration in the church, the Lord's call became evident." Particularly important for the future priest were the experiences of service with the diocesan Caritas, during the years spent at the formation institute in Piazza San Giovanni: "I really experienced that "hospitable field church" of which Pope Francis speaks to us - he reflects - and in some way I was the hands of the Church of Rome reaching out to the poorest. I have never lived it as a sacrifice, but as an integral part of my being a priest".
Desire to help and serve
Words similar to those of Diego Armando Barrera Parra, a twenty-seven-year-old Colombian: "Once I finished high school in Colombia," he says, "I did volunteer work in a juvenile prison and in a foundation for drug addicts. It was there that my desire to be able to help and serve others forever was born". The youngest of the nine deacons is Manuel Secci, a 26-year-old Roman, who grew up in Torre Angela, in the parish of Saints Simon and Jude Thaddeus, "where the sense of community and the beautiful experiences - he says - nourished my vocation".
Salvatore Lucchesi, a 43-year-old Sicilian, also studied at the Major Seminary. His is a mature vocation: "I thank God with my life for all the mercy he has shown me. Giorgio di Iuri, 29, came to Rome from Brindisi to study medicine and says: "The desire for a vocation was born in me when I was about 15 years old, but I had put it aside for a while. Then it was rekindled in the first years I lived here in Rome as a student away from home, thanks to the welcome I received in the parish of Santa Galla." In prayer, he continues, "I had the direct experience that the Lord was there and did not ask anything of me. This is the grace, the gratuitous love of the Lord".
Mateus Enrique, 29, was born in Brazil, in Afogados da Ingazeiras, and moved to Rome seven years ago to attend the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love. "When I was 15 years old I started working for an older man, I helped him with the computer," he says. In the employment contract it was clearly written that every day I had to pray with him and say the Rosary. What at first I saw as an imposition became a necessity for me.
With being a film director
Forty-year-old Riccardo, from Redemptoris Mater, dreamed of becoming a film director instead, and for a few years he even did so. But then he realized that this was not his path. "If I look back now I realize that the call to a priestly vocation had always been there, that love had to mature."
Samuel Piermarini, 28 years old and a great soccer fan, is the youngest of four brothers. "I was playing at a high level, Roma called me for a trial," he recalls with a smile. At the end of training, Stramaccioni called me and said, 'So Piermarini, you can sign with us!' But I replied that I didn't feel like it. Then, the entrance to Redemptoris Mater and, on Sunday, the priestly ordination: "I can't wait!".