ROME, DEC. 24, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- The prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life presided over the priestly ordination of 55 Legionaries of Christ.
“Be convinced that you are priests the world needs,” Cardinal Franc Rodé exhorted the ordinands at the Mass on Saturday in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, “because the world needs God, because without him life has no meaning, because God is the only antidote to sadness and despair, because he is the only remedy to death.”
“Live joyfully! No difficulty, no weakness can ever be a reason to abandon yourselves to sadness or despair,” the cardinal said in his homily.
The number of Legionary priests now tops 700. The congregation has more than 2,500 seminaries in formation.
The newly ordained comprise 22 Mexicans, 12 Americans, nine Spaniards, three Canadians, three Italians, two Brazilians, an Irishman, a German, a Chilean and a Venezuelan.
Cardinal Rodé ordained 59 Legionaries in the same basilica in 2004. At the end of that ceremony, he presented on behalf of Pope John Paul II the definitive decree of approval of the statutes of the Regnum Christi movement. Regnum Christi, which is affiliated with the Legion, has about 65,000 members worldwide.
The ordination ceremony drew a crowd of more than 2,500, including nearly 600 Legionary priests and brothers working or studying in Italy, and several ambassadors to the Holy See.
Concelebrating the Mass were Archbishop Luigi de Magistris, retired major pro-penitentiary, and Auxiliary Bishop Paolo Schiavon of Rome.
Father Álvaro Corcuera, general director of the Legionaries, said: “We have prayed that these new priests to be holy. May they live in order to love God and serve people.”
He added: “May they be priests according to the heart of Christ, who live to know, love and share his love with others, giving their lives in a spirit of charity and hope, capable of doing more, whatever is necessary, for the service of mankind, the Holy Father and all bishops in communion with him.”