Fr Ruben Martello first priestly ordination for Friars of St Francis
|Fr Ruben was ordained by Archbishop Douglas Young SVD. Photo courtesy of Alfred Boudib|
By Virginia Knight
While a cold wild wind was buffeting Sydney on the night of Friday 10 August, inside St Bernadette’s Church in Dundas Valley the atmosphere was alive with the warmth of community spirit.
In a peaceful, moving ceremony, Fr Ruben of Jesus (Martello) FSF became the first priest to be ordained for the community of the Friars of St Francis in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.
The ordaining celebrant was Archbishop Douglas Young SVD, Bishop of Mt Hagen in Papua New Guinea and a close friend of Fr Ruben’s family.
Fr Ruben is a very gentle, hopeful and thoughtful young man, drawn to the imagery of life, through art and the beauty of words on a page, particularly in the powerful passages of the Old Testament of which he is a self-confessed fan.
One of his favourites is from 1 Kings 19:9-13 as Elijah looks for God in his surroundings.
Fr Ruben hopes one day to preach with the same passion and inspiration, but says this will come in time and with experience. He draws his inspiration from the lives of the saints, such as John Vianney and the early Church martyrs, seeking to emulate their courage and their faith.
Living the Gospel joyfully in community
|Fr Ruben of Jesus (Martello) FSF (centre) with Fr Christopher Sharah FSF and Archbishop Douglas Young SVD. Photo: Alfred Boudib|
Fr Ruben’s journey to priesthood began in his childhood while living in Herberton in far North Queensland when he would play at celebrating Mass.
But he first seriously considered it at age 15.
“I loved the faith, I loved the Lord and I wanted to devote my life to him,” Fr Ruben said.
He first heard about the Friars of St Francis by word of mouth, and in 2000 visited their community and got to know their way of life.
He became a postulant on 2 February 2001, joining the community at Old Toongabbie where the Friars lived in what was formerly the Marist Fathers Seminary and is now Campion College.
The Friars do not have a specific apostolate, but work in whatever areas the Church needs; through teaching, missionary work, tending the poor or ministering in a parish.
At present their ministry is the pastoral care of St Bernadette’s Parish at Dundas Valley where the order’s founder, Fr Christopher Sharah FSF, is the Parish Priest.
“I am a religious, a Franciscan, though I am incardinated in the Diocese of Parramatta, because our community is a Private Association of Christ’s Faithful and not a pontifical order yet,” Fr Ruben explained.
“I was attracted by the simplicity and the appeal of Franciscan religious life, living the Gospel joyfully in community; the regular life of prayer and work.
“While I wanted to be a priest, I also wanted to embrace the evangelical life of fully consecrating my life to Christ with the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I have taken that vow of obedience very seriously as that is the essential way that you know you are doing Christ’s will rather than your own.”
As a transitional deacon, Fr Ruben said he enjoyed being closely involved with the liturgy, especially during the Mass as minister of the chalice and proclaiming the Gospel.
“Baptising babies was a very important part of my ministry as a deacon, bringing the light of Christ into family life and reaching out to non-practising Catholics as well as people who weren’t Catholic,” he said.
Now as a priest he is looking forward to continuing to touch people’s lives and bring the good news of the Gospel.
“It’s a bit hard to believe that I am actually a priest. It’s almost incredible to think that I now have the grace to be able to consecrate the body and blood of Christ at the altar.”
On Saturday 11 August, the day after his ordination, Fr Ruben celebrated his first Mass and gave his first blessings as a priest.
“Giving first blessings was a wonderful experience and witnessing the joy and emotion on people’s faces was truly moving,” he said.
“Ordinations in parishes really are very special. The parishioners feel very happy and proud that one of their own so to speak, whom they have seen grow in his vocation over the past eight years from junior professed though finally professed to diaconate, has finally reached priesthood. It’s wonderful to see the goodwill in people. Their faith really comes to life in such ecclesial events as ordinations.”
Fr Ruben said the parishioners were very supportive.
“They showed a lot of love through their willingness to participate in the ordination Mass as well as the amount of work they put into preparing the party afterwards. I am very grateful to all those who worked so hard.”
About the Friars of St Francis
The Friars of St Francis is a religious order of Franciscans founded by Fr Christopher Sharah in 1993 and given canonical status as a Private Association of Christ’s Faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta by Bishop Kevin Manning in 2005.
The Friars are a Franciscan reform and a Catholic religious community who seek and strive to live the Gospel life of love and service, prayer and community life according to the rule of St Francis of Assisi (AD 1182-1226).
The community is dedicated to the renewal of religious life through a constant return to the source of the whole of Christian life and to the primitive inspiration of the Franciscan order.
The Friars wear the kind of habit given to the order by St Francis. It is a simple garb, consisting of a “donkey-brown” tunic with hood and cord. The shape of the habit symbolises the cross of Our Lord Jesus.
Go to Fr Ruben Martello Mass of Ordination Photo Gallery
For more information on the Friars of St Francis visit: www.friarsofstfrancis.org
Tel (02) 9871 4414, firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to Fr Christopher Sharah FSF, PO Box 248, Oatlands, NSW, 2117
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