ROME, JUNE 4, 2006 ( Fifty-four Legionaries of Christ were ordained deacons in Rome, hours before the meeting of ecclesial movements and new communities with Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Archbishop Paolo Romeo, apostolic nuncio in Italy, presided at the ordination Mass on Saturday morning, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The archbishop reminded the new deacons that their mission consists of proclaiming "the good news of the kingdom of God," that is, "that God is love."

"You are called to be witnesses of his love in the world and for the world," the nuncio said. "Witnesses of the love of God for all: This is your mission."

Among the deacons, who are scheduled to be ordained priests in December, 13 are from the United States; 23 from Mexico, eight from Spain; three from Italy; two each from Canada and Brazil; and one each from Ireland, Germany and Chile.

The average age of the deacons is 32 and, since the day they entered the Legion of Christ, they have spent an average of 12 years in formation.


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