By Natashya Fernandez
Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton last week spoke about the importance of being involved in the ministry of the Church as he ordained Mark Anthony Rucci from St Charles Seminary to the Diaconate.
The Mass, held on Friday 20 October at St Benedicts Church, Applecross was celebrated by Bishop Sproxton and concelebrated with St Charles Seminary Rector Father Philip Fleay, Vicar General the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely together with Deacon Tung Vu and the priests of the Archdiocese of Perth.
The ordination brings Deacon Rucci one step closer to the ministry of priesthood.
In the presence of some 400 family, friends and parishioners from across Perth who have been touched by the new Deacon’s journey, Bishop Sproxton said that it was a joyful day to celebrate with and pray for him as he is ordained a deacon.
“This evening Mark reaches a point in his journey when he will be blessed, after his years of formation and discernment in the seminary, and after many years of listening to and struggling with the call of Christ for many years before that.
He went on to say that Mark was named after two great saints and shares in the journey of faith more closely to them.
“The blessing for him as he presents himself for ordination, will be that the Holy Spirit will provide the strength of faith and trust Mark will need to be a minister of service to the people.
“The diaconate is the first of the Holy Orders and it is so appropriate that it is a ministry of service, and that service is the basis of all ministry in the Church, especially the ministries of Orders. When God calls, there always follows his promise of grace and support. This is the blessing for Mark,” Bishop Sproxton said.
Referencing the second reading from the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians, Bishop Sproxton said that even though St Paul’s call to become an apostle came later, Paul testified that the grace of Christ accompanied him throughout his years of missionary service.
“We believe that St Paul spent quite some time at Ephesus, maybe as long as two years. By the time he left, there were about 20 or so people who had become Christian. He felt very close to this little Church and his letter shows his deep concern for them.
“Paul wrote to them with a caution. He knew that there were three things that threaten the unity of a Christian community: arguments between the members of Church, the growing diversity of the ministries in the community, and the teaching of false doctrine. He sought to bring the Ephesians to the view that all of these threats could be resolved by the community remembering that all is done in Christ.
“Christ has to be the principle of unity. The ministries especially will be a unity of Christian endeavour if all involved acknowledge that they come from Christ as a gift.
“Mark is called to the diaconate, to serve as Jesus did, and in serving to be a blessing to the Church here in the Archdiocese.
“He must never hear himself say: this is my ministry. None of us who have been called to Sacred Orders should say this.
“As a deacon, and please God, later as a priest, Mark needs to follow the caution of St Paul, in that the ministry belongs to Christ. We are invited to minister to all of our brothers and sisters in his name, on his behalf.
“I now call Mark to come forward to receive the gift of diaconate, to be given to him by Christ, for the benefit of the People of God,” Bishop Sproxton said.
Following the Mass, Deacon Rucci who was surrounded by well-wishes said that he was overwhelmed by the love shown to him on the night.
“Firstly, the love in the eyes of Bishop Sproxton shining through in all that he said and did during the ordination, in all the priests and seminarians present and in the people of God. I pray that I can bring God’s love to those I encounter in the same way as it was done for me. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ,” the new Deacon said.
“Though I had always felt God somehow present in my life, I wandered far from Him, living a life of selfishness and sin.
“I was caught up with my own dreams – cycling, dancing, gardening, and my career,” Deacon Mark said.
“As I wrote in the ordination booklet, he stooped so low to raise me from the dung heap to his service. Who can comprehend the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord?” Deacon Rucci ended.