Sunday, October 15, 2006

Julio César Rivera Received to the Deaconate

Our newest member of the clergy is presented to Bishop Barahona for reception as a Deacon.

Julio Rivera, 36, was received on October 14, 2006 as a deacon in the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador, bringing our total number of clergy up to 13! Julio was ¨received¨ as a deacon because he was already ordained as a Roman Catholic priest; the Anglican Church recognizes Roman Catholic orders and so does not re-ordain its clergy when they seek to join the Anglican Church. Those clergy from the Roman Catholic Church seeking reception into the Anglican Church of El Salvador undergo an intense process and spend a year of intensive Anglican study at the Anglican Seminary in Mexico City. Julio took all of the vows in the Prayer Book service for the ordination of a deacon, but rather than laying his hands on Julio's head, Bishop Barahona took his hand and said, "Julio, we recognize you as a Deacon in Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." In his sermon, Bishop Barahona likened this reception to "untying Julio's hands," which had been "tied" when he left the Roman Catholic Church, for deaconal ministry. When Julio is received as a priest, Bishop Barahona said, we will "untie his feet."
Julio is the second-youngest member of the clergy in the diocese (after Amy!) and brings a lot of energy and fresh ideas about evangelism and pastoral work. He is re-organizing the pastoral life of Santa María Virgen in Ilopango, where he has been assigned, around a ¨small community¨ model, which draws both on liberation theology´s base Christian communities and Evangelical ¨cell groups.¨ The small communities will meet weekly in people´s homes in the different geographical zones of the parish (which he is explaining to priests from the U.S. in the picture), and will become ¨nurseries¨of Christian formation and outreach.
Julio himself has an amazing story of growing up in El Salvador during the Civil War. His village was bombed by the government early on during the war, and he was separated from his parents and picked up by the Red Cross as an orphan. He was raised by a Roman Catholic priest until the war was over, and then, after finding out that his parents, who had fought with the guerilla, were actually still alive, was then reunited with them. Julio's father passed away last year, but his mother was present at his reception.

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