By Matthew Lau
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord” – Romans 12:11.
A packed Spearwood Parish of St Jerome witnessed their brother in Christ take another giant leap in his formation journey to serve the Lord.
Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton ordained Br Chris de Sousa CRS to the Diaconate on Saturday 3 November 2018, three months after making his Solemn Profession of Vows in the presence of Somascan Superior General Fr Franco Moscone CRS.
Dcn Chris – Australia’s first fully professed Somascan – said his heart was filled with joy and gratitude as his parents, Joao-Luis and Maria-Ligia, placed a dalmatic over his garments, moments after prostrating before the altar.
The morning Mass was concelebrated by Frs Pierluigi Vajra CRS, Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS, Pierangelo Borali CRS, Johnson Vijay D’Souza CRS, Ted Miller, Nicholas Nweke, Joseph Laundy, Daniel Chama, and Danai Penollar.
Dcn Chris’ siblings, Sandy and Mathew, presented the first and second readings respectively.
Fr Vajra, Superior of the Delegation of Australia for the Somascan Fathers, testified that he had found Dcn Chris worthy of the responsibility of the diaconate.
In his homily, Bishop Sproxton spoke about the Diaconate as the first of three Ordinations of Holy Orders, that clerics are fundamentally called to be servants of the community.
“The deacon, the priest, and the bishop [are] given a call by the Lord to be servants … to be ministers of the Word.
“The foundation is humility, and that comes out of the desire that we have to become all the more a true image of Christ to our people,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“To become icons of Jesus, because we are gradually reformed to His image, so that when people encounter us in our roles of service, that they will encounter someone who is a humble man, who lives simply, who makes himself available to the people at any hour.”
At the conclusion of Mass, the newly ordained Deacon Chris de Sousa offered his heartfelt appreciation to all those who influenced his holy development.
“I give thanks to Our Almighty God and to the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother, that in these few months after having celebrated with you all the occasion of my Solemn Profession of Religious Vows, I stand before you now as an Ordained Deacon,” he expressed.
“As I take direction from St Peter’s second letter: ‘to use whatever gift I have received to serve others, as a faithful steward of God’s grace’, I also rely on your prayers for my preparation towards priestly ordination next year.”
Dcn Chris entered religious formation with the Somascan community in February 2012, before making his first profession of temporary religious vows in January 2014, and then renewing those vows exactly three years later.
Prior to committing to vows of chastity, poverty and obedience – Dcn Chris was a lawyer whose faith led him to play an active role in Spearwood Parish over the years.
Along his journey to reach his diaconate, Dcn Chris undertook missions at orphanages in Sri Lanka and India.
Dcn Chris has this week joined former Spearwood Parish Priest Fr Valerio Fenoglio CRS for his diaconate ministry and service in Mozambique, Africa.
Fr Fenoglio was a pioneer in setting up the Somascan community in Australia.