Before ordination, Deacon Juan Antonio Romero shares a light moment with his parents, Miguel Romero and Maria Soledad Diaz.
Here is the complete text of Archbishop García-Siller's homily:
My dear sisters and brothers, we have gathered here to do something that the Catholic community of faith has been doing for nearly two thousand years. We will bless, make holy, and consecrate two of our brothers – one as a deacon and the other as a priest. We will lay our hands upon them and call down the Holy Spirit upon them. So this is a very special day in their lives, but what we are doing is also quite simple – in word and gesture. Its effects, however, are incalculable. The readings from Sacred Scripture that we just heard give us much food for thought.
When he was called to be God’s spokesman, the prophet Jeremiah protested that he was too young; who would listen to him? Moreover, he was not ready. He was not adequately prepared to be God’s messenger. He could probably have multiplied excuses on and on. But one thing was clear: God had called him and empowered him to be a prophet. He had no idea what the future might bring, and his vocation would be tested many times in the future. But he was always sustained ultimately by the underlying conviction that God was with him. And so, my brothers, do not hesitate to say “Yes” to God today. We are probably never old enough or prepared enough or whatever enough! God will be with us. That is all that is necessary.
In the second reading Peter counsels the leaders in the early Christian community to be humble servants: Oversee the flock entrusted to your care willingly and eagerly – not lording it over them or for shameful profit. Like the Good Shepherd, you are to be examples to the flock.
This notion of being humble or poor has deep roots in the Old Testament and the gospels. The ‘anawim are the poor of the land, the meek, the humble. They are found among the marginalized, the forgotten, those cast aside. Those who know that they are not God and that they are dependent on God for everything in life. They are also found in the Gospel stories about Zachary and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, as well as Mary and Joseph.
My brothers, Juan Romero and Juan Pablo, you have reached a certain milestone in your journey of faith. The Lord has led you to this moment, and you have willingly and generously responded to his call. But you are not yet at the end of your journey! Only at a milestone. You have much to learn, as we all do, from the ‘anawim among us – the poor, the meek, the humble. We need to observe them carefully and listen to them attentively. They will show us how to serve the Lord Jesus and his people in imitation of the Good Shepherd.
I know you have come to this day freely and willingly but perhaps with also some fear and anxiety. Are you truly ready to assume the respective responsibilities of deacon and priest? As a deacon, you will proclaim the gospel, assist at the altar, celebrate baptisms and pray at funerals, work for social justice. As a priest, you will teach, sanctify, and govern in the name of the Church. Perhaps you can identify with the apostles who gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on that first Easter morning, uncertain about the future.
Then we realize that the risen Lord Jesus is with us – right here and now. He says, “Peace be with you.” Peace be with you. And he breathes his Holy Spirit upon you. This not only empowers you with the respective orders of deacon and priest. The gift of the Holy Spirit will also remain with you – within you. Through the abiding Holy Spirit Christ lives in our hearts through faith and that this is evident in our love for God and for one another. Love is at the heart of the Good News. Love is the gospel we proclaim. But we must live that love, not merely pronounce it correctly. And we are to love as Jesus loved – without limit, without exception, being willing to lay down our lives for one another.
My friends, it is the Holy Spirit that enables the community of faith to proclaim the gospel, to attract a crowd, to have something to say worth hearing. God has the power to accomplish in our midst what he wants – in spite of all obstacles. But what must we do to enable this to happen? We must be open to God’s word. We must be willing to be empowered by the Holy Spirit like Peter and the other disciples. And most of all we must be in a loving, mutual relationship with Jesus, the risen Lord.
Such a relationship is not restricted to our time here in church today. It is to be an abiding, loving relationship. It is to grow ever deeper and stronger, leading us always to say “Yes” and “Amen” to the Father, to carry out his will, to observe his commandments. We are to love God fully, holding nothing back. And to love one another as Jesus has loved us – continuously, without limits, throughout our life. Brothers Juan Romero and Juan Pablo, that is the mission to which the Holy Spirit and we call you today!
May Our Lady of Pentecost, the first disciple and our mother, watch over you with her loving care. She was truly the first disciple, the most blessed of the ‘anawim. Take her for your model. Say “Yes!” to God today and all the days of your life. Yes! Let it be done to me according to your word!
HILLSBORO — Even the balcony of St. Matthew Church was jammed as two young men were ordained, one a transitional deacon, the other a priest. Rev. Mr. Juan Antonio Romero and Father Juan Pablo Patino, members of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, were ordained here earlier this month amid a happy crowd of families, friends and other members of their religious congregation.
Rev. Mr. Romero, 37, was born in Ciudad Juarez and came to the U.S. as a teen. He lived near Santa Barbara, Calif. and began working after high school. The family moved to Las Vegas, where he met the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and went through formation. He professed first vows in 2002 then went to Mount Angel Seminary for college. He completed a year of internship in southern California, working with a vocations director, visiting parishes. After getting a degree from Notre Dame, he is enrolled in a program for formation directors taught in Morelia, Mexico. He will spend a year as a deacon in Huntington, Park. Calif.
Father Patiño, 32, was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. at age 9. He was raised in California. After some college, he entered the Missionaries. He professed first vows in 2001 and then went on to finish college, working in the field in social outreach and church jobs. Father Patiño spent a year-long internship at St. Matthew, where he was religious education coordinator. Last year, he was sent to Rome, where he helped in the congregation’s financial office and obtained a spiritual theology degree with an emphasis on formation.
The ordaining prelate was Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio. He's also a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, founded in Mexico at the start of the 20th century, a time of anti-clerical turmoil and revolution in the country. There are 354 men in the community.
It was Archbishop García-Siller who brought the first group of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit to Oregon more than 15 years ago, wanting to serve local Spanish speakers and send his young recruits to Mount Angel Seminary. Now, the order not only has a house of studies in Mount Angel, but has moved its U.S. headquarters to a former convent at St. Francis Parish in Roy. The charism of the order is offering spiritual direction, helping people see where God is present in their lives.
Father Domenico Di Raimondo, the newly-moved provincial superior, says the ordination was a joyous occasion. The Missionaries have for 15 years tended St. Matthew Parish.
Archbishop John Vlazny recently wrote about the missionaries in his Catholic Sentinel column.
"The good Lord is obviously blessing our church with capable coworkers and marvelous evangelizers, particularly for our growing Hispanic community," the archbishop wrote.