By Vatican News staff writer
On Saturday afternoon Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle presided over Mass where he ordained 24 deacons studying at Rome’s Pontifical Urban College, a major seminary under the care of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples headed by him.
Congratulating and thanking them for their affirmative response to the Lord’s call, he also paid tribute to the support and formation received from family, their home dioceses, their teachers and seminary community. The 24 deacons come from Camerun, Benin, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, and give "witness to the universality of the Church and its mission”.
In his homily, Cardinal Tagle recalled the Vatican II constitution Lumen Gentium which describes the role of the deacon “in service of the liturgy, of the Gospel, and of charity”, and quoting Saint Polycarp that they "be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all." He underscored that “deacons are called to be living signs of Jesus, whose lordship is expressed in humble service to all”. With the grace of God, they remind Christians of “our common call to serve as Jesus did.”
Recalling the Gospel reading, where Jesus says,"Remain in me, as I remain in you...I am the vine, you are the branches...without me you can do nothing", Cardinal Tagle noted the special meaning this has today for the new deacons. He said it is not enough to know that Jesus lives in us, but that "we must choose to live and remain in him", so we may “become like him in love and service”. He encouraged the new deacons to “show the world the greatness of humble service, which is the fruit of living in Jesus.”
In conclusion he, entrusted them to the care and protection of Mary, our Mother, and of Saint Joseph, “both humble servants, who lived for and in Jesus.”