In these days, a new group of our young brothers arrive to their diaconate and priestly ordinations. Looking at them, ready to leave for their mission, in front of my eyes pass the cities and the streets that await them. Their lives will be a service carried out for God and the Church, in distant countries, with men and women who they currently do not know. I think of the courtyards and the houses in which they will enter, and the faces of those who will open the door. Inside they will find children and young people to invite, elderly to bring Holy Communion, sick to anoint with holy oil. I think of all the times they will say: I absolve you from your sins, bringing consolation to those who are oppressed by their own evil; and how many times they will repeat during the Mass: This is my body, this is my blood.
Almost every day of their life they will speak with someone who is searching for counsel: a young person who must make an important decision, a couple that is preparing for marriage; or perhaps a couple that cannot find the reasons to get married, or a mother or a father who is preoccupied for their children. The words they will say may remain points of light in the lives of many, keeping them company. There will also be those who seek their thought on the teaching of the Church, some searching to provoke them, some to laugh. Every encounter will be the occasion to become more aware of the beauty they profess. Each time they may witness anew that to live for Christ is worthwhile.
Their assignment will not always be easy. As I look at them, I think of the hard moments that they may go through, about the mistakes that they will make. Their infidelity, large or small, could unfortunately be an obstacle to the journey of those who have been entrusted to them. And it is precisely in this thought that I am continually amazed: God did not make the sanctity of his priests a condition for the effectiveness of the priesthood, but continues to use man who are weak and imperfect to communicate his presence. It is a fact that is both consoling and vertiginous at the same time, that the faith teaches us to affirm in all of its disarming objectivity. The sins and the errors of priests does not take away anything from the divine strength that is transmitted through the words and gestures which are particular to their task. This mystery does not free us from the responsibility of being worthy of that which we carry: on the contrary, it makes it more urgent. Not only for ourselves, but also for those to whom we are sent. The words of the Bishop are beautiful, when, at the end of the rite, he reminds the priest that has just been ordained: Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross. At the same time, I entrust them to the protection of God and I remind them that it is Him to whom they must look, to immerse themselves in this undertaking which goes beyond their strength: The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people. In the strength of the Holy Spirit dwells our hope.
In the photo, Fr. Davide Tonini with a few of the parishioners in Mexico City.