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​Holy Spirit marks soul for the service of God’s people

March 15, 2020 | posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio

Topics: Vocations

Holy Spirit marks soul for the service of God’s people

Brother Edward Tembo, CICM, was ordained a deacon for the Church by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, in a special Mass at St. Patrick Parish on February 15, with the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and many friends who have supported his vocation rejoicing in a spirit of gratitude.

“Every vocation is a mystery and we may try to understand it and to trace its origins: does it come from the way we were raised by our parents? Does it come from the example of those good priests that encouraged us? Is it the product of the complexity of our personality?” he archbishop asked. “We can make the effort of trying to find the roots of that desire that you experienced to offer your life to God in the Church. But the truth is that we recognize that the origin of vocation is always divine.”

The first reading at the Mass, from the prophet Jeremiah, spoke about this mystery. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.” When the Bible speaks about “knowing someone” it always refers to some intimate interaction.

“God reached your heart while you were being formed, and in a way that surpasses our understanding, he spoke to you there and planted the seed of your vocation. That’s why the Church rejoices; somehow, we are harvesting some of the first fruits today. And these fruits, without doubt, glorify God,” Archbishop Gustavo told listeners. “Our vocation not only has its origin in God, but it also has its end in the Lord. As every other mystery, it has to be explored with new eyes each time the Spirit brings it to our heart.”

The second reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, reminded the congregation that the ministry of the diaconate will always be linked to the service of those who are hungering, both in body and spirit.

“Charity towards those who are in need has to be a mark of the diaconate. Christ who washes the feet of those who are tired and feeds the hungry is our model,” the archbishop told Brother Tembo. “That attitude of service has to be a constant sign of the Holy Spirit working in the deacon’s heart. Your life will be bound through ordination to the mystery of the altar, to the celebration of the Eucharist.”

The Gospel reading at the liturgy reminded attendees that all who are called to serve the Table of the Lord do so with a special call to humility, to make themselves little to be exalted only by God.

“Becoming part of the clergy should never be a path to strive for success and privileges, but quite the contrary,” the Missionary of the Holy Spirit intoned, “it should be a path that takes us to the Cross, to offer our life surrendering everything we are and everything we have.”

This connection between Eucharist and service in the life of deacons was acknowledged by Pope Francis when he said: “When you serve at the table of the Eucharist, there you will find the presence of Jesus, who gives himself to you so that you can give yourselves to others.”

The San Antonio prelate prayed that the sacrament of holy orders may also strengthen in Brother Tembo the charism that is proper to his religious congregation. “May you be a true missionary to those who still need to encounter God. May you represent the preaching ministry of the Church wherever God calls you to spread the Gospel of Salvation with the same apostolic zeal that characterized your founder, Father (Theophiel) Verbist. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, who showed to us how the heart of a servant and missionary look like, sustain you with her love and company throughout your ministry.”