On June 10, 2017, the Clovis family and friends gathered amidst great rejoicing in Montefiascone, Italy for the ordination of Dominic Clovis to the priesthood by Bishop Linus Fumagalli. It was a case of déjà vu, as exactly 34 years ago, they had gathered in Rome on June 12, 1983, for my own ordination to the priesthood by St. Pope John Paul II.
Some nine years ago, while I was the parish priest of Laborie, Dominic spent a few months with me to discern his vocation. His call, in God’s providence, was to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), whose charisma is the joyful evangelisation of the culture.
Founded in Argentina by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela on March 25, 1984, the Institute, attracting young men and women, has proved exceptionally fruitful with a membership of more than 400 priests, 300 seminarians, 50 monks, 1,100 nuns and religious sisters, as well as an apostolic presence in 88 dioceses, in 38 countries on five continents. It also has a Third Order. Additionally, the Institute is tri-ritual, meaning that its members celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite, the Coptic Rite as well as both forms of the Roman Rite.
The Institute, with over 160 convents and more than 100 novices, operates six seminaries. Fr. Dominic and three of his brothers studied in the Tuscan Seminary of St. Vitaliano in Montefiascone, an ancient hilltop town 100 km. northwest of Rome and not far from Bolsano, the shrine of the 13th century Eucharistic miracle.
The ordination Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of St. Margherita, a renaissance baroque structure of the 16th –17th centuries. Bishop Linus Fumagalli and Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, an uncle of one of the ordinands, together with more than 80 priests, representing the Institute’s missionary activity on all five continents, gathered and vested in the convent of the Filipinni Sisters.
At 10:00 a.m., a clarion was sounded by the great bells of the Cathedral and the procession began with the processional cross, escorted by candles, incense and servers, including Dominic’s nephew, Joshua, the three acolytes to be ordained deacons and the eight deacons to be ordained priests.
The choir, composed of seminarians and nuns of the Institute, sang the Ego sum Pastor bonus as, amid clouds of incense, the procession made its way to the Sanctuary. The majestic solemnity of the Mass was highlighted by the familiar Missa de angelis and other chants.
Standing before the bishop, the ordinands promised to execute the priestly office as co-workers with the bishop, to preach the Gospel and teach the Catholic faith worthily and wisely, while celebrating faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ handed down by the Church, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation. They promised to do this for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people, while praying unceasingly for the salvation of souls and always with filial respect and obedience to the bishop and their legitimate superiors.
The promises having been made, the rite of ordination began with the prostration, which was followed by the bishop and the concelebrating priests imposing hands on the ordinands, during which the Veni Creator was sung. This act is a link in an unbroken succession going back to the Apostles themselves and is deeply moving on the priests imposing hands as to the ordinands on whom hands are imposed.
Even more emotional was the moment when I vested my own nephew with the stole and chasuble, the yoke of Christ. The chrismal anointing of the hands of the new priests was followed by their receiving the bread and wine for the offering of the new and eternal sacrifice. Then, taking their place among the priests in the Sanctuary, the new priests offered their first Mass.
The Mass having ended, all the priests, following the processional cross, processed out of the Cathedral to the triumphant music of Handel’s Alleluia chorus. Winding its way through the narrow streets, the procession arrived at the Seminary, where an outdoor Altar to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus had been erected and decorated by the Sisters of the Institute. There, in the presence of the congregation which had followed, the new priests consecrated themselves, their lives and their mission to the perpetual service of the loving Saviour of the world.
First blessings, joyous greetings, passionate salutations, happy tears, endless photographs, unending hugs were followed by a well-deserved lunch under six gigantic tents. With music and entertainment, with thanks and toasts, the family of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, the family of the new priests and deacons, the benefactors and friends, well-wishers and simple ordinary faithful rejoiced that the ranks of Christ’s ministerial priesthood had been augmented on the glorious Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity. Deogratias. And to Rev. Fr. Dominic, Ad multosannos!
Information about following a vocation of a Religious Brother or Sister, nun, monk or priest in the Institute of the Incarnate Word can be found on its websites: www.ive.org and www.servidorasdelsenor.org/en