I admit my announcement is nowhere near as great or big as the announcement of a new pope, but, for me, it is far closer to home. In light of my father’s worsening health condition (he has been battling pancreatic cancer for a few years), Bishop Choby has decided that he will call me to the diaconate a year early. That means I am going to be ordained on May 15, 2015 – in just under 3 weeks – so that my father can be at one of my ordinations, at least.
So, how do I like the news, you may ask? Well, I love it. I have been working to be prepared for this for years! At the same time, I am thoroughly petrified. This is the first step in the process where I can’t go back (easily). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even thinking of backing out of being ordained a deacon, but it is still a frightening prospect. To use (a slightly cleaned up version of) the colloquial of today’s younguns, stuff just got real.
As of May 15, I will be charged by the Church through my bishop to proclaim the Gospel in Mass. I will be entrusted with preaching to the people of God. I will be an ordinary minister of Baptism, Matrimony, and Holy Communion. In my ordination to the person of Christ the servant, I will be entrusted with pastoral charity on behalf of the Church. I intentionally wrote that whole list from an intimidating responsibility perspective, but each of those also include a great trust and privilege for which the Church calls me. I will be allowed to give homilies in Mass. I will be allowed to perform baptisms and witness marriages on behalf of the Church. I will be entrusted to distribute communion and directly assist the priest at the altar in the Mass. How exciting!
I’m looking forward to the new and exciting things that I will be able to share from the perspective of diaconal ministry. I won’t be serving as a deacon while I’m at the seminary so I can continue to focus on my formation as it is meant to proceed, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will be a deacon. I will be ordered to Christ in a new way.
Anyway. Wow. This is exciting – and terrifying.