The day after my final profession with the Paulist Fathers I was ordained a deacon alongside five other seminarians from religious communities.
People have asked me if I feel any different since, and truth be told, yes. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the immense gift that I have received.
I did a fair bit of planning leading up to this weekend through correspondence with the others to be ordained and with my fellow seminarians who were planning the Profession Mass. Yet once the big weekend came, I felt like I could just let go and savor the moment as countless other people took over to make the weekend flow without a hitch.
I also think back on all the work I’ve done to reach this point – the hours writing papers for the 90+ credits I’ve done in philosophy and theology, the hours I’ve spent driving back and forth to my parish assignments, the hours I’ve spent writing reflections and self-evaluations as part of the discernment. It seems as though I can say that the diaconate is something I’ve “accomplished.”
Yet in truth it doesn’t feel at all like an accomplishment, but rather a mystery, a humble privilege, a gift of something far bigger than I could imagine or attain on my own. No amount of work on my part could account for the privilege to be ordained alongside five other amazing guys, and surrounded by so many inspiring priests and Bishop Dorsonville. Likewise, the support of my family and friends who came to my ordination had nothing to do with anything I could have “earned” by my own efforts.
Such are the surprising graces of the diaconate. Through the grace of God, I’ve received so many gifts from the Church, and now the least I can do is to share such gifts with God’s people through ministry as a deacon.