July 23, 2015

Ordination to the Diaconate

On Saturday June 23rd 2012 Archbishop Terrence Prendergast ordained me to the diaconate! With many friends and family present, the Good Lord continued to call me closer to the priesthood in this big step where I officially became a member of the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ottawa.

During this celebration, I made three promises before God and the Christian community gathered at my internship parish: to live a celibate life, to pray each day for the People of God, and to be obedient to Archbishop Prendergast and to his successors for the rest of my life.

The whole experience was very moving. I was particularly marked by the gesture of placing my hands in the bishop’s hands and as I promised obedience to him and his successors. This gesture of trust and total self-gift of my life to serve God’s people was very special for me. I really believe that we were all made to give ourselves completely to others. Usually this means to a spouse and children in a family, but in my case, to a large family in the Church that I have given my life to.

In addition, when I was lying face down on the ground during the singing of the Litany of the Saints I was reminded of how powerless I am to carry out this mission entrusted to me. My human gifts and abilities are insufficient to serve so great a family. During the singing of the Litany I was reminded that the people are praying to help me and to ask God to give me the grace to do His will as a priest. I must always remember that I have the support of all the saints in Heaven; even when faced with adversity or persecution in the world. This was such a powerful moment. It brings to mind Saint Paul’s famous lines:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamites; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Immediately after being vested with the stole and dalmatic (liturgical vestments of a deacon), I knelt in front of the bishop and received the book of the Gospels. His words were some of my favourite words from the ordination rite – it reminds everyone of what it means to be an ordained man of the Church, but also I believe that these words are applicable to all the baptized. How do they apply to your life?
“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are.
Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Answering the Call