New deacon on path to priesthood

2 Deacon Mark greeting

Auckland Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen said the Church needs people who are willing to break open the Word of God in “a new and engaging way”.

Bishop Gielen said this in his homily at the diaconate ordination of seminarian Mark Napa at St Joseph’s Church, Takapuna, Auckland, on April 17.

The bishop touched on the first reading of the Mass (Acts 8:26- 40), saying the Church needs a deacon like St Philip who broke open the Word to the Ethiopian official.

“Like Philip, you (Mr Napa) will proclaim God’s Word to a world that is not overly perceptive. Our lives have become overwhelmed with noise and busyness. We do not have time anymore to listen to God’s Word. Our people need a deacon, like Philip to the Ethiopian, who is willing to take time to break God’s Word open for them, to proclaim the Gospel in a new and engaging way,” the bishop said.

Bishop Gielen said priesthood is a “unique call” that Mr Napa has been called to. “[The Holy Spirit] prompts, leads and endlessly searches for anyone who would listen,” Bishop Gielen said. “You (Mr Napa) have listened to that Spirit.”

“It has not been an easy journey for you,” Bishop Gielen added “Yet, you have persevered. You’ve been tested and you have been found worthy.”

Bishop Gielen noted that Mr Napa did not get to this point without the support of his family, as well as his community in Bataan, Philippines. The bishop assured him that, now that he (Mr Napa) is in New Zealand, he will also have the support of the community here.

“You will not sail alone,” the bishop said.

Bishop Gielen also referred to Mr Napa’s Jesuit formation, saying the new deacon courageously discerned God’s voice, just like St Ignatius Loyola.

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, who concelebrated the Mass, expressed his delight at Mr Napa’s ordination.

“We’re very lucky to have him,” Bishop Dunn said.

For his part, the newly-ordained Deacon Napa thanked his family, who were watching the ordination as it was being livestreamed, and tearfully told them of his love.

“Today’s celebration is a manifestation that God continues to love his people, his Church, unworthy as I am [for] this vocation and this mission,” he said.

He thanked Bishop Dunn for welcoming him to the diocese, and Bishop Gielen for his words of encouragement and inspiration.

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Rowena Orejana

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