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The Lord continues to call: 'You shall be My witnesses' Print
Guest column
Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

Eritis mihi testes — You shall be My witnesses (Acts 1:8). These words addressed by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples on the day of His Ascension sets the stage for the apostolic mission of the Church.

This “witnessing” was fully commissioned on the day of Pentecost when the promised gift of the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. This power given by the Lord to the apostles and confirmed by the presence of the Holy

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Spirit in the foundation upon which the Catholic Church had thrived over the ages.

Invitation to witness

In every age and time, the Lord continues to invite people to be witnesses of His love in our world. This invitation to “witness” takes various shapes and forms.

Some are called to priestly vocation, others religious life, still others to married life or single life. Yet in all these callings, it is still the Holy Spirit that invites us in our different capacity to be God’s witnesses.

Witnessing as priests

The Diocese of Madison rejoices with Deacons Timothy Renz and Jorge Miramontes-Medina on their upcoming ordinations to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

These two men through the Sacrament of Holy Orders will join the ranks of the ordained priests of the Diocese of Madison who day in and day out are witnessing to Christ in their various parishes and ministries.

At the core of their priestly ministry will be the sacraments of the Church, especially the Most Holy Eucharist, which are effective ways of witnessing to the immense love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Their ordination is a sign of God’s great favor to us as a diocese. It brings to completion what has been a great one-year run with a total of six newly ordained priests for the diocese.

Future filled with hope

“You shall be My witnesses.” This invitation is not exhausted yet, nor will it ever be exhausted. As we look toward the future, it is a future filled with great hope for priestly vocations in our diocese.

Many young people are answering the call to be Christ’s witnesses. They are no longer afraid or ashamed to be witnesses and workers in God’s vineyard.

In saying “yes” to witness Christ through the priestly ministry, they are in effect making a bold statement to the world “that our one mission is better than a thousand options.”

Telling the story anew

In my last column in January during Vocations Awareness Week, I said that “we need to tell the story joyfully anew.” There are great signs that this is beginning to resonate in our people. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and well wishers are now inviting and encouraging their loved ones to accept this call to witness Christ in the priestly vocations.

No longer are we going to be content with the news that we have a shortage in vocations to the priesthood. No longer are we going to allow fear to deter us from saying “yes, Lord, send me.”

The tide is turning and the Lord is leading the charge. Having received this “power” from the Holy Spirit, let us joyfully continue to be witnesses of God’s unchanging love in our world.

I invite all the young men out there who may be nursing the idea of a priestly vocation to talk to someone they trust, especially their pastor or any other priest they know. The Lord needs you to join the great company of witnesses who continue to testify to His great love in every age.

We congratulate Deacon Tim and Deacon Jorge for saying “yes” to the Lord. Your ordination is yet another sign that the favors of the Lord are not exhausted. You will be His witnesses and so will many who will come after you. Ad Multos Annos!

Fr. Paul Ugo Arinze is director of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Madison.