On Saturday, October 16, the diaconal ordination of Martti Savijoki was celebrated in St. Mary's Church in Helsenki (FIN). The celebration was presided by the Finnish Dehonian bishop, Msgr. Teemo Sippo. It was a special event, not only because of the celebration itself, but especially because Marrti is the second Finnish to belong to the Dehonian Congregation. We asked him a few questions.
What are the words and actions that impressed you the most during the celebration of the diaconal ordination?
In the second reading of the ordination liturgy I heard that the apostles expected the first deacons to be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. This is also my great desire although I’m aware of my limitations. Again, it was impressive to lie face down on the ground, even though I had already experienced it in at the celebration of perpetual vows. It was for me an expression of the total surrender to wherever God wants to take me. Also the laying on of hands was an beautiful experience, as was the prayer of blessing. I felt that something special really happened there. After the ordination liturgy I could meet and celebrate with many people who are important to me and for my journey. Fortunately, the Covid 19 situation in Finland were at the moment such that this was possible.
You are now completing your philosophical-theological formation in Freiburg, Germany. You have been living in an international community. How did you experience this time with other confreres from other continents?
Living with very different people from other cultures and from different age groups has certainly helped me grow as a person. I remember being somewhat rigid or inflexible at first. But I think I have learned to accept and respect differences more and more. In any case, I have found it really inspiring to live with people from very different backgrounds. And we’ve shared many happy moments together and helped each other to integrate well.
For your master’s degree you have written a thesis on the theme of miracles. Why did you choose this topic and what conclusions did you come to?
Miracles are a controversial topic in contemporary theology. In Germany, many theologians view them with a rather sceptical attitude. The reason for this remained unclear to me during my studies, because the issue was not really discussed. This made me curious to explore the possibility of miracles and their theological significance. Now, it seems clear to me that there are no real philosophical or theological obstacles to the possibility of miracles, even of such miracles that ”violate” the laws of nature. What hinders people most from accepting this possibility is a narrow and outdated worldview. That miracles sometimes happen is even rather probable if there is an almighty God who can work miracles. For him, miracles are an opportunity to communicate in a special way with his creatures and to show them his love.
Thinking about Finland, what will your future be like?
For the next year I will stay in Germany for pastoral training. After that I’m going back to Finland. The Dehonians have two parishes in Finland and I think I will be working in them and gathering pastoral experience, for start. I feel called to serve in my home country, but I belong to a international congregation in which I am ready to serve where I am most needed and where I have the most to give. During my theological studies I also had very little time for music, which is one gift I think I should use more. I’ll try to find the best ways to integrate it with my ministry and with the mission of the congregation.