ORLANDO | On Ordination day, I felt like I was part of a reality show that each week narrows the field down to the two finalists. Perhaps an irreverent comparison, but with a formation cohort that started with 12 men, only two of us would stand before the bishop that day.
During the five years of formation, some had discerned this was not their calling, others left due to life challenges that demonstrated it was not the right time, and others were unable to complete formation requirements. While it is expected between 25-50% of those who start formation will not make it to Ordination for one of these reasons, it was surprising only two of us were vested.
At times formation can seem like it will never end, but in the final days before Ordination, all I could think of was I needed more time. It was daunting to consider that by 10:45 a.m. that Saturday morning I would be ordained and configured to Christ the Servant, called to daily serve the People of God.
The most poignant moment of the Ordination ritual was when we lay face down on the floor in front of the altar during the Litany of the Saints. As the smell of the well-worn carpet filled my nose, I embraced my own unworthiness for this ministry. At the same time, the voices singing the invocation, asking for prayers from all the angels and saints, reminded me God’s grace would be enough. I arose from the floor confident God would guide me to find strength in my weakness.
An ordained servant is called to serve and not to be served, and I jumped right into service that weekend. The parish invited me to assist at and preach all the Masses. So that afternoon I left my family and friends at my Ordination party and got to work. I even experienced the joy of baptizing my first baby.
The hours and days immediately following Ordination were exhilarating! Perhaps it was the joy of no longer having to attend countless classes, write papers, and fulfill parochial internships. Perhaps it was the warm reception by my parish to my new ministry. Most likely, though, it was because I was more fully living the mission God had for my life.
The grace of Ordination can provide an exhilaration that fuels a veritable ‘honeymoon period’ in the months following the Sacrament. I had great dreams of where God would take my ministry. God’s dreams, though, were far greater than I could have ever imagined.
If you feel a call to the diaconate, attend one of the following Diaconate Discernment Nights.
All sessions are from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- 10/4/21 St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Viera
- 10/7/21 St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Summerfield
- 10/26/21 Basilica of St. Paul, Daytona Beach
- 10/28/21 St. Catherine of Siena, Kissimmee
By Deacon Dave Camous, Special to the Florida Catholic, September 29, 2021
Second in a four-part series about the diaconate