“True humanity is real participation in the suffering of human beings. It means being a man of compassion, being at the center of human passion, really bearing with others their suffering and the temptation of our times: ‘God, Where are you in this world?’” With these words of Pope Benedict XVI in mind, the Heart’s Home family rejoiced to participate in one of its largest international events to date: the ordination of three priests and four deacons to the Molokai Fraternity. Among these seven men ordained by his Excellency the Most Reverend Dominique Rey, Bishop of Toulon (Southern France) was Father Paul Anel, member of the Heart’s Home community in Brooklyn.
The celebration took place at The Immaculate Conception Seminary in La Crau, France, alongside the ordination of 27 other men to the diaconate and priesthood. Nearly 3000 family members and friends gathered to witness the occasion. In his homily, Bishop Rey addressed the obstacles presented to priests in our society such as secularism, clericalism, functionalism, activism, individualism, and skepticism. He reminded all those being ordained of their vulnerable humanity and warned them against relying on their own abilities; rather, he urged them to continuously draw wisdom and strength from prayer and the Eucharist. Concluding with a prayer of Consecration to Holy Mary, Bishop Rey reassured the men that “God trusted Himself to their weaknesses.”
The homily echoed the talk on Priesthood given the prior evening by Rev. Thierry de Roucy, founder of Heart’s Home. He quoted the words of Pope Benedict used to conclude the Year for Priests, “God entrusts to His priests the mission of education, guiding and sanctifying His people. […] The only way in which the priest could contribute to the sanctification of his people is by putting them in contact with God’s own sanctity. This implies that he himself be a truly human man, a man of compassion; that he be a man inhabited by Holy Mercy, a man ‘of the confessional’; a man with one eye looking at the basin and the water to wash people’s feet, and the other eye looking at the Cross.”
The meeting with Father Thierry was immediately followed by a vigil of Adoration and Confession. Friends, relatives, and lay and consecrated members of Heart’s Home from around the world were able to worship alongside the young ordinands as they prepared themselves for the momentous occasion!
After the beautiful ordination mass, the congregation formed long lines to kiss the hands of the newly ordained priests and receive their holy blessings. That evening, loved ones from the four corners of the world gathered as a large Heart’s Home family to share a lively dinner, filled with Neapolitan music and congenial conversations. The following day, we all gathered again, excited to share in the celebration of the first mass of Father Paul, Father Jean-Marie, and Father Thibault. At the lunch that followed, the newly ordained priests took us on a trip around the world as they shared pictures and music from their beloved missions in New York, Berlin, and Dakar.
How beautiful is our Church! How bold is our God to depend on men; to decide that our way to sanctity and salvation is offered through the poor hands of these young ministers of His Mercy!
On the 27th of June, we witnessed the birth of three priests. As witnesses of the liturgy, as participants in the same Eucharist, as members of the Catholic family, isn’t true that the Lord now calls us to support these young men with our sincere prayers and our loyal friendship?
May our hearts cry out, “Oh, Lord, give us plenty of saintly priests!”
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