On 30th January 2021, Bishop John Sherrington ordained Marco Salvagnini as a Deacon. In his reflection, he speaks about how his life has lead to this transformative moment.
‘Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.’
My diaconal ordination has been a passage of the Lord in my life. In fact, although it took place in a very unusual form due to the pandemic restrictions, it has nonetheless been very intimate and personal. In the given homily, Bishop John Sherrington highlighted what it means to be a deacon, which is to be a servant and herald of the Gospel.
Today, I can say with confidence and sincerity that if God has chosen me to be his servant and his herald through the ministry of diaconate, it is only because he is the one who has served me firstly and announced to me that Good News of His unconditional love through many people of whom I am infinitely grateful.
In fact, God planted the seed of this vocation in the early stages of my life, especially through my family; I am originally from Padua in Italy. My parents wanted to have few children. However, God has intervened in their lives to the point that they trusted in him by being open to life. They had 9 children and I am the third eldest. One of them, my brother Stefano, was born with a severe disability which has him totally reliant on the support of others.
Living in a large family, amongst mostly smaller families, showed me from an early age that my parents had made very specific choices with God’s help, although at times I felt our family was different. But looking back now, it was this difference that made all of us rely totally on God. My parents would lead us in Morning Prayer on Sundays, and we would sing the psalms after having been earlier to Mass. By my father leading this, he helped place us all in the light of the Word of God.
This relationship with the Word of God has been something fundamental which marked the whole of my life. Like many young people I had the normal struggles, doubts and rebellions growing up. But it was by staying close to God through the Church that I was given answers to many of my doubts. As a teenager I joined the Neocatechumenal Way, while still living in Padua. It is an itinerary of Christian initiation into our faith. The Way was one of the many fruits of the Holy Spirit after the Second Vatican Council and it is also present here in Westminster Diocese. It was through my experience of The Way that I realised God was calling me to his Priesthood, and this eventually led me to London.
I have been in Priestly formation for ten years and over that time have had many incredible formation experiences, both here in our diocese and overseas. Apart from the normal philosophy and theology studies, I was fortunate to have been sent on mission for several years to Ireland and Israel.
I will exercise my ministry at Holy Cross, Parsons Green, for some time as I prepare to be ordained as a priest. Looking ahead to this time of diaconate, I pray that God will help me to grow in a spirit of service following the example of his son Jesus Christ who has come to serve and not to be served. I am aware that this would be only possible in the measure I will keep myself united to him and to his mystical body which is the Church.
Please pray for me.
Deacon Marco Salvagnini
(from left to right) Deacon Jakub Joszko, Bishop John Sherrington, Deacon Marco Salvagnini