Thanks be to God this Christmas wish of mine will be granted even before we mark the great Feast of Christ’s Birth this year! I can’t imagine a greater gift for this Diocese of El Paso than to add, not one, but two new young men, consecrated to
God’s service; living signs of God’s love and care for us.
You are invited to the Cathedral of St. Patrick as at 10:00 a.m. on December 6th Deacons Gleen Carpe and Apolinar Samboni are Ordained to the Ministerial Priesthood. I rejoice in this early Christmas gift because priests are my primary collaborators in the work of making Jesus present to the world. But you, all you as members of the People of God here, should rejoice with me. Deacons Gleen and Apolinar are dedicating their lives to you. They are promising to make Christ present by the radical witness of their lives and especially by their celebration of the Sacraments.
They will make Christ present day by day in the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. They will render your children, Children of God in Baptism. They will offer Jesus’ love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They will prepare you for Marriage in the Church. They will anoint you when you are facing serious illness and bring you Jesus as Viaticum when you are dying. These two young servants of God will be there to listen to you when you need a wise and loving person to speak to. They will give you counsel. They will boldly preach God’s Word revealing that His Word is as timely and necessary as it was when Jesus and the Prophets first spoke that Word—just as great a challenge to the comfortable and a comfort to the sorrowing.
Deacons Apolinar and Gleen are missionaries to us in a sense. Dcn. Apolinar arrived from Colombia and joined the St. Charles Seminary in January 2009. Dcn. Gleen came here from the Philippines and entered the seminary in the Fall of 2008. These young men responded to a quiet voice within them calling them to serve God’s people here—among a people they did not even know in a place they had never seen. Over the years of discernment and preparation they came to know us here in El Paso. Our vibrant Faith inspired them and our faults and frailties only served to make them love us more. These Fathers-to-be committed themselves to us and we, for our part, have made them our own.
For this reason I encourage you to fill the Cathedral on Saturday, the 6th. Join us even if you haven’t met them. Join in the prayer that all our Diocesan Church will offer for them that they will be always holy and joyful servants of the Lord and of His People. Rejoice with us in these living, breathing gifts God has sent us. Come, and I will share my early Christmas gift with you!
My best wishes to you for a fruitful Advent and a very Merry Christmas!
Bishop Mark J. Seitz