Two Jesuit scholastics were ordained deacons by Bishop John Sherrington on Saturday 10th February at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street.
Anuranjan Ekka from the Darjeeling Province, currently living in the Loyola House community in Wimbledon, and George Stephen Thayriam from Madurai, a member of the Hurtado Jesuit community in Wapping, are both third year undergraduates studying for their Bachelor of Divinity at Heythrop College.
Principal concelebrants were Fr Nick King SJ, Assistant for Fomration, and Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ, who presented the candidates to Bishop John.
Addressing the ordinands in his homily, Bishop John reminded them that as they ‘accept and enter into the order of deacon, you become more fully the servant of Christ to minister faithfully to those in your care’. He explained that ‘God’s call is not of our own making but dependent upon the grace of God who transforms those who are weak and lifts them up through his grace to witness faithfully to Christ the Servant’.
‘Sometimes your ministry as deacons will require the risk of what may seem absurd and yet it is in the losing of life that you will find life,’ he added.
He counseled them that ‘you will know in your ministry as deacons that you need God’s mercy and that you are sinful men. This is not a cause for despair or a reason for turning away but rather the moment of grace to have faith in the forgiveness of God.’
Bishop John also acknowledged that both the great Jesuit missionaries to India who inspired both men. George is inspired by St John De Britto, better known as John the Baptist of India, whose ‘work at the Madurai Mission was a bold attempt to establish an Indian Catholic Church that was relatively free of European cultural domination’, and Anuranjan is inspired by St Francis Xavier, who ‘reminds us of the missionary journey to the peripheries wherever people are marginalised, and live and die outside the gates of the town’.
Like these saints, Bishop John encouraged the men: ‘Your service as deacons calls you to go beyond the gates and find the people who huddle there in their poverty. What you have received, you are called to hand onto others.’
It has been the custom in recent decades that Jesuits be ordained to the diaconate during their final year of Theology studies in their place of study. Assistant for Formation Fr Nick King SJ observed ‘it has been a great privilege to be responsible for the initial formation of so many young Jesuits from all over the world over the past decades, and an inspiration to witness the variety of work in which they are now engaged in their home provinces.’
Please keep both newly-ordained deacons in your prayers.
Photo: Jesuits in Britain