Deacons' Ordained in Schoenstatt
Indian Arathi and Poomaala
(mkf) Indian songs, decorations, symbols, and expressions of veneration in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt – Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Felix Genn, Trier, ordained two candidates from India as deacons, with many Schoenstatt Fathers, students and novices, friends, and Schoenstatt members present, on April 15, 2000. Johnson Panthappillil and Shajan Manickathan, seminarians of the Schoenstatt Fathers, chose as the theme for their ordination: "Today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms...to build and to plant" (Jeremiah 1:10; NIV)
The traditional Indian Light was lit at the beginning of the holy Mass; the Vallendar band "Esperamor", and the choir of the Schoenstatt Fathers' novices, provided the music and accompanied the celebration with English, Indian, and German songs. India was present not only in signs and songs, but also with many Indian people among the faithful.
The Adoration Church in Schoenstatt reflected the universal church and the worldwide Covenant of Love on this sunny afternoon in April when two candidates from Kerala, India, were ordained as deacons by a German auxiliary bishop.
Called to Build and to Plant
The General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Father Michael Marmann, welcomed Bishop Genn, who expressed his thanks for the invitation to lead this celebration. The readings chosen by the two candidates revealed the theme of the ordination: to build and to plant – faith, the church, Schoenstatt, for all peoples and nations.
After the second reading, the novices' choir sang a hymn in the language of the two candidates, Malayalam: "I am ready to sacrifice myself to spread your name."
After the gospel was read by Fr. Walter, Fr. Dr. Lothar Penners, director of the Joseph Kentenich College, called the candidates by name and asked the bishop to ordain them as deacons. Following the rites, the bishop asked him for his testimony of their readiness and worthiness. After his affirmation, the congregation also approved with a song.
"His Word – Lived, Suffered"
Bishop Genn's sermon was centered around the quote from John: "Jesus would die not only for that nation, but also for the scattered children of God to bring them together and make them one" (John 11:52 NIV). Jesus, he said, had brought the scattered children of God together and made them one – this celebration being a remarkable testimony of this fact. Two brothers from Kerala, India, being ordained in Germany, Europe.
Those here from Europe and those from India, Christian descendents of the peoples evangelized by the apostle Thomas, were among the scattered children of God brought together by Jesus as people of the new covenant; people from India and people from Europe, one as a fruit of Jesus' death and resurrection.
The two candidates would become missionaries today. Facing tempests, persecution, and problems in matters of faith, they could always trust the WORD – lived and suffered: Jesus himself. As they would proclaim the mystery of faith in the Eucharist, being personally rooted in the gospel, they would be sent to proclaim the Word, the good message, to all – to build and to plant.
After the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the candidates went to the bishop, knelt down, and gave their promises: to live according to Jesus' model of celibacy, service, and obedience, and to pray the Divine Office.
Ordained to be Deacons
Three young men from the band "Esperamor" led the singing of the Litany of All Saints – including the saints from India. While the priests knelt by the altar, the two future deacons lay prostrate before the altar.
The bishop's prayer and imposition of hands was the center part of the ordination. The candidates came forth, and Bishop Genn, with his prayer and imposition of hands, ordained them as deacons. The newly ordained deacons then went aside to put on the deacon's vestments.
The mission song – I the Lord of Sea and Sky -, impressively performed by the band, underlined the meaning of the moment. Afterwards, Bishop Genn presented a Bible to the new deacons.
Bread and wine, as well as flowers and fruit, were brought to the altar. The two new deacons, for the first time, performed the deacon's service of preparing the gifts for the offertory. The novices' choir sang a song in Tamil.
Arathi and Poomaala
After the consecration, the novices went to the steps of the altar with candles, flowers, and incense to perform the Indian Adoration of Arathi – praising God by offering flowers, candles, and incense. Indian veneration, expressive, giving an idea of the variety of expressions of the love for the one God in the universal church.
English and Indian songs were sung during Holy Communion. Before the blessing, Johnson Panthappillil ad Shajan Manickathan walked to the MTA picture. Together with their friends and guests, they said they wanted to entrust their journey towards priesthood and future life to the Blessed Mother. Shajan Manickathan asked Mary to lead him in his future way. Johnson Panthappillil spoke lines from Father Kentenich's prayers in Heavenwards: "In Spirit I kneel before your picture, Thrice Admirable, strong and gentle Mother, united with all who have consecrated themselves to you and are ready to die for your realm....Take from me what I have and am. I surrender absolutely everything....Build through me your realm of Schoenstatt."
Together, all those present renewed their Covenant of Love: "My Queen, my Mother..." To the tune of "Ave Maria", performed by keyboard and flute, the two new deacons offered a poomaala to Mary – a garland made of flowers, a sign of gratitude, joy, and love.
Bishop Genn then thanked all those who contributed to the celebration, and asked the faithful to accompany the two young deacons in prayer. After the final blessing, the band continued to play joyful songs, while the participants walked outside to greet and congratulate the new deacons.
Together with their friends and guests, the two deacons continued to celebrate this feastday on Mount Sion.