Diaconal Ordination in the Community of the Schoenstatt Fathers
With the motto "On earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10), the community of the Schoenstatt Fathers celebrates the ordination as deacon of the Brazilian seminarian Rafael Tavares da Mota. He was ordained in São Paulo on Saturday, August 15, 2020, in an open-air Mass in front of the Sion Shrine in the neighbourhood of Jaraguá.
By Sueli Vilarinho
Don Devair Araujo da Fonseca, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of São Paulo, presided over the Mass and declared the deaconate to be synonymous with service: “Word and service walk together. The diaconate is a sacramental service, where men who serve are chosen“.
This ordination takes place on the Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, so Don Devair says: “On this day we remember the Immaculate Virgin Mary, dogma of our faith. Mary taken into heaven. She listens and her first attitude is to place herself at service. Word and service are united, they do not separate. The reality was unknown [to Mary], but she was willing to do God’s will.”
Addressing the young ordained man, he emphasizes: “In your life as a deacon, you will also be sent to many places, perhaps without your will, but it is worth remembering the Gospel in which Mary places herself before her littleness and gives herself. Mary’s “Yes” is connected to the word of God and not to her weaknesses. This is how your ministry must be consolidated: the will of God – who today chose you, called you and gave you these graces – much more than your abilities.”
The weaker, the greater the Grace of God.
The Bishop advises the young man. “If you are frail or weak, greater is the grace of God that gives you strength, covers you with this strength and sends you out. Do not be afraid to respond generously to what God asks of you. Follow the path that God commands, even if it is rough and unknown.”
After ten years of studies in Theology and Philosophy, pedagogical and apostolic stages, of diverse experiences, Rafael Mota prostrates himself on the floor, as a sign of humility and service. Following, he also receives the vestments proper to the diaconate and the Gospel.
At the end of the Mass, the newly ordained deacon thanks all the people who were on his way from childhood, youth, his vocational discernment and the journey to the seminary, especially his parents. They were present at this ceremony reserved for just a few relatives, friends and Schoenstatt Fathers. However, from a distance, thousands of people accompanied the live transmission through the social networks: “Our heart is happy for this vocation and also for having the opportunity to witness this, since we cannot be physically present,” commented Caroline Moraes de Freitas, from Pozos de Caldas, Rafael’s hometown.
After the celebration, all the wishes and dreams of the new deacon are placed before the Mother and Queen, with the consecration prayer in the Shrine.
Sonia Mota, Rafael’s mother, expresses her gratitude for the experience of this day: “I ask that the Mother of God that she always leads him and helps him distribute, for many people, the generosity and human warmth that he has. The ten years of formation are not easy for a mother, but celebrating this day is indescribable. It is a blessing that he is on his way to the priesthood.”
The superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers of the Brazilian region, Father José Fernando Bonini, said that in spite of the obstacles generated by the pandemic, the celebration could take place and “it is a great joy for a brother to reach the end of his formation.”
Father Marcelo Aravena describes Rafael as a gift to the community and comments “The Diaconal service is an important step that prepares the heart and mind of the candidate for the priesthood. The diaconate is service to life, and even more so illuminated by the word of God. We are confident that Raphael will have a fruitful experience that can serve many people.”
Text: Sueli Vilarinho Pictures: Alex Formigoni