"The spirit of god cannot be confined within ecclesiastical structures. Where the life of the spirit makes itself felt, it can also cause astonishment or even unrest." This was emphasized by bishop friedhelm hofmann at the ordination of deacons last saturday in wurzburg's kiliansdom. Here the ziegelangerer franz schick and three other manner were ordained as permanent deacons. They were able to "have a far greater impact on society than we priests can", said the bishop. With the laying on of hands and prayer, he ordained the four believers.
About 600 believers celebrated
The festive service was under the sentence from the first letter to the corinthians of the apostle paulus: "one spirit – many gifts". One body – many members." The ceremony was attended by the vicar general karl hillenbrand, the personnel officer monsignor dietrich seidel, the pastor albin kramer, spiritual director of the deacons, numerous priests and deacons as well as relatives, friends and acquaintances of the new deacons. A total of more than 600 faithful celebrated the consecration service with.
49-year-old franz schick works as a master gardener for the city of bamberg. He is married and the father of two daughters and a son. He did his internship in the parish community of saint kilian habfurt. The formation to become a deacon is part-time and lasts at least four years. It rests on the pillars of theology, pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment. After the consecration, there are two more years of formation, the phase of vocational formation.
In his sermon for the ordination, bishop hofmann took up the message of pope francis, who made it clear that the church must not cling to privileges and entrenched structures, but must be completely open to the call of god. By the example of jesus, we can learn to become poor and to reach out to the poor and needy. Paul's view of the various gifts of grace, which all come from the one holy spirit, is not contrary to canon law, but fills the entire life of the church. "The faithful are not simply commanders from above, who only have to act when they are called upon to do so 'from above'. Those who hold the office in the church must not have the consciousness that they had to receive suggestions 'from below' in a graciously condescending manner."
Paul had already emphasized that god's spirit is present in every christian and that everyone brings it to light in his or her own way. "There is no exception, in every spirit-baptized person there are potentials that must be awakened, developed, accepted by the church", the bishop emphasized. It would be fatal to renounce these spiritual gifts. "A bitter impoverishment of the parishes was the result.
The bishop encouraged the faithful to leave room for the holy spirit in the church and to allow for reflection, responsibility and action. The permanent diaconate is a fruit of the second vatican council that has blossomed in the wurzburg diocese. "The church has as its basic mission to pass on jesus' love, manifested to us, through the times – in our own little lives – each according to his abilities and possibilities, according to the gifts of grace given to us.
Pledge of obedience
At the beginning of the consecration the four candidates were called one by one. They promised to live their lives according to jesus christ and to serve him especially in the poor, the sick, the homeless, the needy and all the marginalized. They vowed obedience to the bishop. During the invocation of the saints, the manner lay stretched out on the ground as a sign of devotion to christ. After that, bishop hofmann silently placed his hands on them and said the consecration prayer. With the four newly ordained, there are 205 permanent deacons in the wurzburg diocese. 71 of them work full-time, 134 part-time or retired.