What is it like to be ordained in the midst of a pandemic?
The pandemic added a special touch to the ordination from many different perspectives. The diaconal ordination, here in Rome last November, was done without any guests being able to attend the ceremony. That made it special, because we could be united to the suffering of many people who are separated from their loved ones, who can’t see them, even though sometimes they are in the same city. So even though it was difficult for us not to have our families around us, it was one way to be united to all the suffering that was happening all over the world. At the same time the pandemic shows the importance of God’s place in the lives of many people. Many are going through a difficult time and their faith allows them to find meaning in this suffering, transforming this into an opportunity of serving others. There are so many nice examples of people sacrificing themselves, such as medical staff, nurses, people working in grocery stores, pharmacies, cleaning staff, so many people who are going over and above the call of duty to help others, to make life more pleasant for others.
In a way this is the work of a priest. To serve others is the primary goal of the priest, to bring them closer to God, to help them discover God’s love in their daily life. So the pandemic highlights the importance of service and also the need people have to find love, to find God, in their lives.