16/05/2012 12:01

PNG Seminarian in Rome is now a deacon and best soccer player

It was a memorable weekend for Christian Sieland, 32, from the diocese of Chimbu, who was ordained a deacon in Rome on Saturday, 12 May. The same day he was declared best soccer player of the recently concluded Clericus cup, a competition among priests and seminarians in Rome that saw the American team win the sixth edition 2012. Christian competed for the Pontifical Urban College, the community where he resides, though his team could not reach the final. Best coach (Spain), best goal keeper (Croatia) and best scorer (Ghana) were also awarded sacerdotal stoles of different colors.

Then on Saturday afternoon Christian was ordained by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as one of 21 students of the Pontifical Urban College "de Propaganda Fide", from Africa, Asia, America and Oceania, during the Mass for the ordination of priests and deacons which he presided at the Vatican.

Speaking to the new deacons, Cardinal Filoni said that "whoever receives this ordination, receives it in relation to an office to which he is qualified for the service of God's word and charity. But what especially characterizes it is its configuration to Christ - a servant, that in humility became a man of God and for God, man for others ". Cardinal Filoni ended his homily with a reflection on the origin of the ordained: "I also note that you come from China, Korea, Viet-nam, Cameroon, Burundi, Ghana, Mali, Uganda from Haiti and Papua New Guinea, and I cannot refrain from saying that like Peter in Cornelius’ house: 'In truth I see that God shows no partiality' (Acts 10, 34). Even today, in this place of the martyrdom of Peter, it is again the Prince of the Apostles, who looking at you in the eyes renews his wonder for the fidelity with which Christ loves, sanctifies and renews his Church."

Christian Sieland, who is completing Bible studies, is expected to be ordained a priest in Papua New Guinea sometime next year. He is of mixed German and Chimbu parentage, the son of a Catholic lay volunteer who came to Papua New Guinea in the late sixties of the last century. Christian is technically a German citizen; “but I prefer to live and serve in Papua New Guinea”, he says.