This Thursday took place in the parish of San Pedro Apóstol, in Quivicán, the diaconal ordination of Julio César Rodríguez Díaz, by laying on hands and consecratory prayer of Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Havana.
“In the face of this huge multitude of diaconal witnesses, baptize with love, preach with proper preparation and so that the people understand you, distribute communion to the sick who need it as much as medicines, witness the love declared publicly in the Church by husbands and help them to grow in love and never tire because the task is arduous and inabrcible” , thus were the words addressed to him by Cardinal García in his homily to the newly ordained deacon, Julius Caesar.
The ordination ceremony was attended by about twenty priests representing the clergy of Havana, accompanied by a group of faithful from the community of Quivicán with their parish priest, Father Lazarus Roberto.
In the words of gratitude and tears in his eyes, Julius Caesar recalled the importance of the parish priests in their formation such as Fr. Miguel Falcón, Fr. Troadio Hernández, Fr Néstor Joya, Msgr. Silvano and Fr. Alfredo San Juan.
This was the first of three diaconal valuations to take place in the Archdiocese of Havana in August. The next two will be on the 22nd and 28th, in the parishes of Los Pinos (Seminarist Lázaro Cánova) and San Nicolás de Bari (Seminarist Junior A. Delgado) respectively.
Transient diaconate, as it is in this case, is a time of learning and preparation before priestly ordination. Deaconos in the Church solemnly baptize, distribute the Eucharist, attend and bless marriages, bring the travel to the dying, read Sacred Scripture, and explain it to the faithful, preside over the worship and prayer of the Church, administer the sacramentals, and preside over funerals.
At the conclusion of the diaconal ordination of Julio César Rodríguez, #PalabraNueva spoke with the visibly excited new deacon of the Habanera Church.
“Being a priest in Cuba, not outside Cuba”
Text and photos: Yandry Fernández Perdomo
Julius Caesar, in your words of thanks you mentioned with great emotion those parish priests who marked your life, how important were they that today you were ordained a deacon of the Catholic Church?
“It was Father Nestor Joya who initiated me in faith, my godfather, and made me a head in my vocational process. Then Msgr. Silvano Pedroso handed me over to the gates of the Seminary San Carlos and San Ambrosio. Father Troadio Hernandez, in a second moment, when I had to leave the seminary, accompanied me along with the community and I came back.
“Priest Miguel Falcón has also been a father in every way to me because he has helped me to form pastorally, above all, in the service of what is the church, the community as such, not only in the catechetical part, but in the ministerial part. My godfather, Father Joya, and Father Miguel are no longer among us, so I was very excited during the ceremony. They have been very important throughout my life.”
In the midst of these difficult circumstances that the Church lives in Havana and the world today because of the pandemic, what feelings spring within you in the face of the new challenges ahead?
“Despite the difficulties caused by this disease, which has been fatal to the whole world and to Cuba as well, and now, when we thought we were freed, it has flourished again very strongly, despite all these situations, I am very happy because I have been able to perform in service to God and today I have dedicated myself as a servant to the Lord and to the people. I look forward to serving and helping people in any way I can.”
What message would you give seminarians who are still in the process of formation and those who have a priestly vocation?
“Be very persevering, if you follow God’s plans and vocationally feel called of Him, do not be discouraged, do not lose hope. Even if there are obstacles, which are going to be many (I am a living testimony of them), God willing, as Monsignor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes told me, you will be a priest; but a priest in Cuba, not outside Cuba.”