"It was a new thing for everybody," Deacon Silvio Mayo told Moulton. "No one would call you 'Deacon'," he continues, "[n]ow it's like it's your first name." Of course, Silvio, who serves as Chancellor of our fair diocese, was ordained in the first class of deacons way back in 1975 by Bishop Joseph Lennox Federal, who eagerly ushered in the diaconate as a permanent order of ministry for our local church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI's Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, and the subsequent permission granted by the Holy See for deacons to be formed and ordained in the U.S.
Sr. Patricia Riley, a Holy Cross sister, deserves more credit than could ever be expressed for her role in leading these men through their formation. She is an exemplar of the call of all the baptized to service, to diakonia, as well as a woman consecrated to Christ and the Church through her religious profession. Hence, her legacy of service will live on in these men. It was Sr. Patricia who extended to me the great privilege of teaching a few classes to these men who now have the privilege and responsibility of being constantly at the service of the church and the world. So, to her and to our new deacons, Ad multos annos!
So, along with all of us previously ordained to this vitalizing order, I welcome my new brother deacons. Serving God's holy people is a privilege, not a burden. For a deacon it becomes your path to salvation. I am very mindful today that the sixth anniversary of my own ordination at the hands of now-Archbishop George Niederauer, one day shy of the anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, is tomorrow, 24 January. The reason I chose the picture that appears above, taken by Scott Sommerdorf for the Trib, is because it shows what I want my ministry to be, focused on Jesus and not on me. I am happy to be a blur in the frame, a snapshot in time of God redeeming the world through His only begotten Son, the perfect sacrifice, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We now have 21 new deacons who will ask with joy their hearts, smiles on their faces, and little weariness in their legs- "Is it Monday yet?"
Speaking of service, I am pleased and grateful that Il Sussidiaro published Adventures in Theodicy: the phenomenon we call life.