Friday, July 15, 2022

Six years an ordained deacon

Today is the anniversary of my ordination as a deacon in the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. I am the first permanent deacon in the diocese, one of only six in the country, and the only celibate deacon here.

During my ordination, I was especially moved by the presence of the saints with us as I lay prostrate during the Litany of the Saints – surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. I shook as we called on Charles de Foucauld and Monseñor Oscar Romero – both of whom are models of diakonia for me.
I also shook when I heard in the consecratory prayer that the apostles chose seven men and dedicate them to the service of the poor [los dedicaron al servicio de los pobres]. 

This morning, during my Skype call with my spiritual director, she asked me what I was going to do to celebrate. I’ve been out and about much this week and I had decided to clean the house, wash clothes, and be domestic.

I got up early – about 5:08 am, washed and prayed, and then had spiritual direction at 6:30 am. I’ve washed clothes and I’m cleaning the house. 

I also made a chickpea and tomato dish for lunch today (and for a few more days). The chickpeas were canned but the tomatoes are fresh from a neighbor’s tomato project. I had some whole grain bread I bought yesterday in Santa Rosa. I also finished off some ice cream.
In the course of the morning I managed to break two coffee cups (but they were extras) as well as a large bowl that I often used for soups.

This evening there is a Mass of Thanksgiving in the parish. That is quite thoughtful But what really touched me was the announcement:

"Mass of Thanksgiving for one more anniversary of the ministry of deacon of our brother Juancito"

I was touched that the note referred to me as “nuestro hermano Juancito.” 

One of my concerns about becoming a deacon was a concern that this would create a greater distance between me and the people in the parish. Though this still happens at times, being called “our brother Jack” gives me hope.

I am probably a little more sensitive to this this week since I read a very provocative article in America about calling priests “Father.” 

By chance, the reading for the feast of Saint Bonaventure is Matthew 23: 8-12. – “Don’t call anyone ‘father’.” 

I am grateful for being ordained a deacon – and for the ministry of deacon I had been able to live for many years before my ordination. Diakonia is part of our baptismal charism – for all of the church. 

Now, I am called to be a sign of Christ the Servant, motivating others to live our baptismal commitment.

How will I celebrate six years as a permanent deacon? Continuing and deepening my call. 

Tomorrow I hope to go to the distant community of Debajiados with the pastor to celebrate the feast of the Virgin of Carmen.

Sunday I’ll go to another rural village and then head for an afternoon Mass in another part of the parish.

This week I have a meeting with the catechists.

I also want to get to a large town here that has a lot of sick and bed-ridden and only one communion minister.

The next week there are more meetings, including one with parishioners involved in Social Ministry. 

But I really need to get to some other rural communities. 

Please pray for us – and for me, that we may offer our people signs of the love of God and open with them spaces for grace.

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