Opus Dei Welcomes 36 New Priests

Prelate Urges Them to Spend Themselves at Service of Souls

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ROME, MAY 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- "Always be available to all," was the advice given by the Opus Dei prelate to the 36 men he ordained priests Saturday afternoon in Rome.

Bishop Javier Echevarría told the ordinands: "You will be dispensers of the mysteries of God. With St. Josemaría, our beloved founder, I remind you that a priest is judge, doctor, teacher, father and pastor.

"You will be pastors after Christ, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep. So, impelled by pastoral charity, always be available to all, without claiming a single right. Spend yourselves with joy in the service of souls."

The new priests, who received the sacrament in the Basilica of San Eugenio, come from 15 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Spain, the Philippines, France, Guatemala, Italy, Kenya, the Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal and Venezuela.

One of the newly ordained is Father José Antonio Brage, 41, former naval lieutenant of the Spanish Armed Forces.

As an 18-year-old youth, Brage entered the Naval College of Pontevedra. During his naval training on the ship "J.S. Elcano," he sailed around the world.

In a testimony published on Opus Dei's Web page, Father Brage explains that he realized that "the world's greatest poverty is the absence of God. To take Christ to others is the greatest good that can be done, and this is the mission of a priest."

"The sea says many things about God. A memory comes to mind of my first years in the Armed Forces. On the door of the entrance to the chapel of the Military Naval College, there is a plaque with this inscription: 'He who knows not how to pray should go to the sea and he will see how soon he learns.' This is a great truth. All that is needed is to open the eyes of the soul."