I know, it’s long past time that I spent some time reflecting on my diaconate ordination, which happened a week ago today. Final exams have kept me from doing so until now, so here goes.
The picture at left is after the ordination took place. The picture shows Bishop Roger Kaffer (who ordained me), me, Fr. John Regan (my vocation director), and Bishop Stanley Schlarman. This was clearly one of the happiest moments of my life so far. The ordination ceremony itself was really beautiful. The diocese did a great job planning the liturgy, with the music, decorating the pastoral center, and everything else. I was able to pray and enjoy the ceremony, and was so blessed to be able to do that. Bishop Kaffer did a great job, and his homily only had me turn red once or twice!
I was very blessed by so many family and friends who came to the ordination. In fact, one of the moments where I was choked up the most was processing in, seeing everyone gathered, and then watching the pretty long procession fill the sanctuary. Many priests, and brother deacons from my class at Mundelein, were there to support and welcome me to the diocesan clergy.
Fr. Regan, our vocation director, had a very nice dinner at the Fiat house for clergy and my classmates, as well as the seminarians from the diocese and their families. It was nice to be able to relax with everyone for a while before the ordination, although I will say I did not eat anything!
The Deacon of the Word was my good friend Greg Labus, a deacon from the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, who has lived across the hall from me ever since pre-theology. Greg really helped me through those last few nerve-wracking hours before the ordination. When we got to the pastoral center, he spent time praying with me before we both got vested.
The reception was very nice, with lots of food provided by the diocese and my family. Again, I did not eat: this time not so much because I was nervous, but because there were so many people to talk to. My family and I finally got back around 10:30 or so and spent some time talking and I finally had a little snack!
The joy really continued throughout the weekend. On Saturday, I was the deacon for Mass at my parish, and was able to preach. It was an awesome time and I really felt like my call to be a deacon, at least for seven months or so, was really confirmed. There was a great reception after Mass, and I was very blessed by the support and encouragement of my parish, and especially my Pastor, Fr. Jim Dougherty.
On Sunday, I had the awesome privilege of baptizing my niece, Molly Elizabeth. She was a very good sport being her uncle’s first baptism! It was a great privilege to say to her: “Molly Elizabeth, the Church welcomes you with great joy. And in its name, I claim you for Christ.” Words cannot express how profound an experience that was for me. There was a great party after that great event, as well!
So basically, I had to go back to school on Sunday night to get some rest! And even then, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire of final exams. But that’s all behind me now too. Still and all, though, I’m still floating a bit above ground from all the grace that was poured out last weekend. I’ll never forget it, to say the least, and will always be grateful for the many gifts of God.
More pictures and stuff later (just starting to get all those collected now!).
Catholic Explorer Article about the ordination.