ARGENTINA, Claudia Echenique •
Many wanted to accompany Matías “Tute” Clavijo and Pablo Mori on their priestly ordination day in New Schoenstatt, Florencio Varela because of the affection that everyone has for them, for their Schoenstatt identity since their childhood, for their loyal and generous commitment. On Saturday, October 28, in God the Father Church, Bishop Franciso Pistilli, Bishop of Encarnación and their Novice Master, imposed hands and he consecrated them Christ and the Church’s priests.
A special gathering was already apparent days beforehand; Juan Molina, a seminarian, finalized details in God the Father Church’s sacristy, and shared it on Twitter. Eduardo Segura commented: “Have handkerchiefs ready…” In several communities from Argentina you heard “Are you going to Florencio Varela on Saturday?” “Will we see each other at the ordination?”
They came from allover to accompany them
Some of the guests and those who wanted to accompany them on this very important day began to arrive. Fr. Andrés Rodríguez traveled from Rome, Fr. Agustin Álvarez, some seminarians, and the Jensens came from Chile. Frs. Tommy Nin Mitchell, Martín Gómez, José Pontes, Pablo Mullín, some novices and Bishop Francisco Pistilli, the consecrating Bishop came from Paraguay.
On the same Saturday, all the Schoenstatt Fathers who live in Córdoba and in Tucumán arrived, and near the start, several diocesan priests were ready to con-celebrate. Fr. Javier Arteaga, Regional superior, also thanked the priests arriving from Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, the Sisters of Mary for their prayers and for opening their house, and the Schoenstatt Institutes and Federations that were present.
God loved us first through you
At the beginning of the procession, “We walked through the hall to the altar with all of the strength and affection from those who have accompanied and prayed for us,” the new priests said later when they were offering thanks. “God loved us first also through all of you who are here today,” they said, referring to the families and the people who accompanied them on their road to the priesthood. In addition to the communities of origin from Villa Ballester (Pablo) and San Isidro (Matías), there were groups from Córdoba, La Plata, Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza.
The youth choir Fr. Manuel López Naón coordinated accompanied with songs and melodies throughout the celebration. From the “Gloria” of the Criolla Mass to the choruses in Latin, everything was in harmony. It was very touching to hear Juan Segundo Clavijo sing the Psalm sung and his wife, who sang “How can I repay you for the good you have done for us”, with their little boy in their arms.
What a waste! Perhaps… but the best waste of all
After the presentation and the acceptance of the two deacons, Bishop Francisco Pistilli, preached a very warm and profound homily. He greeted and thanked the Clavijo and Mori families (naming each member), and he recalled that they had met some time ago, in the novitiate along with Matías and Pablo. “And this is when the two begin to tremble thinking that the Novice Master would relate something intimate,” he teased smilingly. “They have matured for this mission. I am a witness (…) Today we are happy to see that they have been chosen to serve as Christ, Teacher, Priest and Shepherd.”
He recalled that when these youths manifested their vocation, many would tell them, “What a waste!” And he affirmed, “Perhaps they were right. The priestly vocation is the best waste of all because we waste (give up) everything for a life where nothing is wasted. (…) Can someone explain the joy that we the priests who are present here, what Pablo and Matías have, in having nothing and feeling that we have everything? There is so much happiness in their hearts that they could not even sleep last night… It must be a “waste” of happiness and for this I ask them to share such happiness”.
When he referred to the priestly motto chosen by Pablo and Matías, “He loved us first” (1 Jn. 4:1), he explained that we live in a world that always ranks and has competitions to see who is first, who is the best. The logic of the Gospel is different, and he said: “Jesus tell them “Follow me, that is he asks that they be second and sometimes the last because He loves us first.”
Mons. Francisco Pistilli’s homily
And today they can hardly believe it!
Matías and Pablo met when they 13 years old at a Boys’ Youth camp in Córdoba and they had some things in common, such as being born in the same year, and the same month, but more importantly, Bishop Francisco told something else that they share: “one of them (I won’t say which one) thought about being here since his childhood and today he can hardly believe it…The other one, never thought he would be here, and today he also can hardly believe it! What is happening is so great that they know that they have arrived ‘in second place.’ That is how it is and for this reason I can say that they are ready to receive this ministry.”
Finally, he told them, “Do not move forward to be fathers. Allow the Son to always go ahead. In this way, you will become fathers of many children, when they cede the place to you, that undeserved privilege.”
Tears during the laying on of hands
Then the rite of ordination began with the invocation to the Holy Spirit sung in Latin as a duet by Fr. Agustín Álvarez and a seminarian, which transformed the church into a heavenly atmosphere. Until that moment the Deacons made their priestly promise, and then they prostrated themselves while everyone prayed to the sound of the litanies with a folkloric rhythm.
During the consecration prayer and the Bishop’s laying on of hands, those who were close to the altar could see the tears on Pablo and Matías’ faces, which continued while more than 30 priests con-celebrated and laid their hands on each one of them as a gesture of receiving them into the priestly community. Another meaningful gesture was that while the priests passed, Bishop Francisco kept his right hand raised on high as a gesture of blessing.
Tati Achaval commented on Twitter: “It was a very touching moment with Pa’I Francisco, from Novice Master to Bishop, who ordained his pigeons.”
Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio’s gift
Then Matías’ parents and Pablo’s mother and sister presented the chasuble and stole to the Bishop for their sons. Then dressed in their new vestments, both were anointed on their hands, and they received the chalice and the paten Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio, General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers gave them. In the embrace of peace with Bishop Pistilli, with some priests and between the two them, applause resounded in the church, upon seeing the two new priests for Schoenstatt and for the Church.
Once at the altar, Fr. Pablo and Fr. Matías consecrated the bread and wine for the first time into the Body and Blood of Christ, and then they gave it in communion and nourishment to all the faithful.
United in prayer and also online
While this was happening in Argentina, there were three priests in Europe who were united to this celebration in prayer…and also online through digital media! One woman was sending photos of every moment through WhatsApp to Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio, to Germany, and two boys from La Plata Boys’ Youth used almost all their cell credit, as they transmitted the entire Mass via Skype and WhatsApp! to Frs. Beltrán Gómez and Facundo Bernabei, so that they could also be present and share the ordination from Rome.
How can we repay you for all the good you did for us?
Before going to the Shrine, both young men wanted to express their gratitude, and they did it para-phrasing the words of the Psalm: “How can we repay all the good you have done for us.” They thanked those present for sharing the steps in each one’s life, “because you sustained us many times when we doubted, you embraced us when we did not know how to continue, because you strengthened us when we thought we could not do it.” They expressed gratitude to their families because “you loved us first,” you believed in us, and you were touched with us. Thank you for hugging us when we needed it, for knowing how to let us go and letting us travel the road God has invited us to travel.”
In their Sion Family, they mentioned all the priests and formation instructors, but especially their Bishop Francisco “for believing in us, in this miracle, for being a father and guardian angel and for giving us the gift of the priesthood today. It is very strong and incredible to have you here.”
In a long list of gratitude that included all the institutions, people and communities who accompanied them during these years, they especially mentioned the Family Federation and the Mothers’ Federation (their parents belong to them) “because they have prayed and also sustained our parents on this road.”
A mission that enkindles our heart
The last expression of gratitude was for the founder of Schoenstatt: “To Father Joseph Kentenich, for being a father, for showing us a priesthood filled with joy, for walking our road and for giving us a mission that enkindles our heart and fills us with hope.”
Finally they went to the Shrine, they consecrated their priesthood to the Queen of Sion, Mother, Ally, and they gave their first blessing as priests to the people. Then they were invited to an agape meal at Casa Solaz de Maria.
The next morning, Fr. Pablo celebrated his first Mass in his Villa Ballester Shrine, and in the afternoon, Fr. Matías celebrated Mass in his San Isidro Shrine.
Video synthesis by the Department of Communication of Schoenstatt Argentina