Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ordination anniversary

Along with my classmates, I was ordained a deacon in the Cathedral of the Madeleine by then-Bishop George Niederauer eight years ago today, 24 January 2004. It's difficult to believe that it has been that long. Given the special relationship between a bishop and his deacons, I have always thought it significant that we were ordained just one day prior to the ninth anniversary of Archbishop Niederauer's episcopal ordination, which was 25 January 1995, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. It is pretty cool that we were ordained on the liturgical memorial of St. Francis de Sales, who, among other heavenly duties, is the patron saint of writers and journalists (anyone who undertakes to read these pages can see how badly I need his intercession!). We were ordained on a Saturday, the twenty-fifth that year being a Sunday.

So, to my brothers Manuel, Manuel, Tom, Herschel, Jack, Steve, Forrest, Dan, Marcel, Paul, John, John, John, George, Gene, Roger, Willie Willis, Ricardo, and Billy, Happy Anniversary! Today I also remember our departed classmates: Gerry, Scott, and Aniceto.

With Fr. Dave Fitzpatrick in Iraq, January 2006
In a still very relevant New Testament word study, “Behind the Word ‘Deacon’: A New Testament Study,” published in 1983, D. Edmond Hiebert notes that the Greek personal noun διάκονος, which transliterates to diakonos and comes into English as “deacon,” occurs in the New Testament thirty times. Those passages in the New Testament, apart from the Gospels, in which this word or one of its variants, shows that most occurrences do not refer to an office, ministry, or any official role in the nascent Christian community. Hiebert also asserts that “deacon” must be differentiated from “slave,” at least in 1 Philippians 1:1, where Paul seems to refer “deacon” as an office in the church. The word “deacon” in the New Testament generally denotes a voluntary servant, a minister, an attendant; only occasionally, as in 1 Timothy 3:8, does “deacon” refer to an office, as it does in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:12. As a voluntary servant, or minister, a deacon, according to Hiebert, is distinct from a slave. The ancient Greek word for “slave” is doulos. This distinction helps demonstrate that the term “deacon,” as it is used in ancient Christian sources, cannot be equated to “servant,” without a certain qualification. So, the deacon is one who is called forward to serve others. As Herbert Vorgrimler wrote: “In his person, the deacon makes it clear that the liturgy must have consequences in the world with all its needs, and that work in the world that is done in a spirit of charity has a spiritual dimension.”
Ad multos annos dear brothers!

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations, and blessings Scott!

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  2. Happy 8th anniversary Scott.
    All prayers and blessings on your continued ministry that it may continue to challenge and invigorate us all with the Holy Spirit and love of God.

    I think it's great that it falls on the feast day of St Francis de Sales. Inspirational !!

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