Tuesday, February 14, 2012
A seminarian’s life is marked by milestones. On February 8, seminary officials voted unanimously to recommend to Archbishop Kurtz that I be ordained as a Deacon. My diaconal ordination date had previously been set for Saturday, April 28, at St. Barnabas parish in Louisville. However, this vote of confidence from seminary officials, informed by counsel received from the formation team, was greeted with great joy by yours truly.
Having already announced Candidacy (for Holy Orders), the next milestone in the journey will occur during what is known as, as “Deacon Promises,” in seminary parlance. At that event, I will make ask three solemn pledges: a Profession of Faith; an Oath of Freedom and Knowledge and an Oath of Fidelity. The details associated with each of these commitments will be described in future blog entries. In brief, I am looking forward to making Deacon Promises!
Meanwhile…pastoral formation activity has been on my mind. Last week’s report of my choking incident surely gave you a sense of how ministry happens when one least expects (to receive) it!
At our best, seminarians support one another, in good times and in bad. I have been blessed to have guys around me who have kept me “real” during my time at Sacred Heart. For ultimately, I suspect, the People of God expects their priests to be transparent, authentic and, yes, real.
I was privileged to work with the community at St. Gregory the Great church in south Milwaukee in 2010-2011. The focal point of my service was catechesis, including assistance provided to the parish’s RCIA program. I came away from that experience renewed---grateful---and humbled by the response of parishioners to my service.
More recently, I have been a regular participant in Sunday liturgies held at St. Francis of Assisi parish in downtown Milwaukee. The lively worship, celebrated with great gusto by the parish’s multi-cultural community, consistently leaves me charged and ready to tackle the challenges of the coming week. Previous pastoral formation experiences at the Sister Visitor Center on the east side of Louisville as well as summer assignments spent with the St. Albert the Great; Good Shepherd; and Immaculate Conception (LaGrange) communities have also been instrumental in my continuing pastoral formation.
Seminarians are nurtured by those who pray and work for vocations. In my next entry, I will highlight the work of the Serra Club as well as that of the Knights of Columbus in supporting seminarians. Until then…