Rome, December 21th 2008. -- Cardinal Angelo Sodano ordained 49 Legionaries of Christ to the priesthood in the Basilica of
St. Paul Outside the Walls.
Among the concelebrants were Cardinal Giovanni
Coppa, apostolic nuncio; Bishop Brian Farrell, LC, secretary of the
Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity; and
Bishop Marc Alliet, bishop of Bayonne (France).
Cardinal Angelo Sodano expressed
his joy at laying his hands on the new Legionary
priests in the name of the Church, and thus bringing
them into the great family of the priests of Christ.
centered his homily around three key words that sum up
the life of a priest: vocation, ordination, and mission. Speaking
of the vocation he said, “The Lord has chosen us
from our mother’s womb and destined us to enter his
service to announce his message of salvation to the world,
and to bring his gifts of grace to mankind.”
main traits of ordination he said, “Our priesthood is derived
from a gift that we have received from Christ through
his holy Church…In persona Christi the new priest will have
the power to teach the Word of God, celebrate the
Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, and lead the people
of God on the right path. These are the three
offices that flow from priestly ordination: to be a teacher
of the truth, a minister of grace, and a guide
In reference to the mission he said, “The priest
doesn’t receive the gift of the priesthood for his own
personal gain, but he receives it to serve others. Thus
every priest is called to be a missionary wherever he
finds himself and in whatever task he has been assigned.”
Addressing the 49 new priests he added, “Beloved Legionaries of
Christ, you too have been chosen by Christ to go
and bear fruit, just as so many of your brother
Legionaries of Christ have done, so many generous priests that
you have met along your way.
“In reality what St. Joseph
Cafasso, the confessor of St. John Bosco and a holy
priest from my homeland in Piamonte, once said still holds
true: A whole eternity wouldn’t suffice to thank God for
having called us to his service.
The new priests are the
Christmas gift that the Legion of Christ traditionally offers to
the Christ Child and his Church as a symbol of
the Legion’s fidelity to and love for the Pope and
all the Church’s shepherds.
The new priests are between 29
and 37 years old, and all of them have gone
through 10 to 14 years of preparation that includes the
study of philosophy and theology, as well as pastoral service
to the Church. With these 49 ordinations, the number of
the congregation’s priests around the world has reached 800.
the event were Bishop Luigi De Magistris and Fr
Alvaro Corcuera, LC, the general director of the Legionaries of Christ,
who commented at the end of the celebration, “In this
basilica, we have asked St Paul at the side of
|The new priests are the Christmas gift that the Legion of Christ traditionally offers to the Christ Child and his Church.|
his tomb for his intercession on behalf of these 49
new priests, that they live till the end of their
lives just as he did, serving Christ and his Church,
holding on tight to Our Blessed Mother’s hand.”
The new priests
come from 13 countries: 23 Mexicans, 6 Spaniards, 4 Americans,
3 Germans, 3 Brazilians, 1 Argentinean, 2 Columbians, 1 Canadian,
2 Italians, 1 from Chile, 1 from France, 1 from
Ireland, and one from Venezuela.
On Sunday December 21st at noon,
700 Legionaries including the new priests and their families and
friends were added to the pilgrims who accompanied Pope Benedict XVI in
praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father
greeted 49 newly ordained priests of the Legionaries of Christ,
encouraging them to let the love of Christ invigorate their
ministry. "Dear friends," the Pope said, speaking in Italian from
the window of his study, "may the love of Christ,
that moved St. Paul in his mission, always animate your
ministry. I bless you and your loved ones from my
The 49 priests who were just ordained open their hearts
in a first person narrative of the story of their
vocations in a book that was published today and is
entitled “Living for Christ” that as well can be read
in a special section on the Internet webpage.
God for these new priests who have placed themselves at
the service of the Church and we invite you to
pray for them, for their perseverance and sanctification in the
service of others.