By the grace of God and the fruit of the prayers and support of all our families, friends, and parishioners, seven of us were ordained as transitional deacons to be “sacraments of charity” (St. John Paul II) for the people of God. As I reflect back on the ordination Mass, I am floored by the overwhelming support and love of all those that joined us physically and spiritually via prayer as we made another pivotal step towards our priestly ordination.
During the ordination rite, we made a series of seven promises—six that began with the words: “Do you resolve...” to which we all responded: “I do.” However, this promise is not a promise that we made only on that day. It is a promise and resolution that I must make each and every day, each and every moment. It is a constant commitment to Our Lord and to his people entrusted to us. The first promise that we made was to become “consecrated for the Church’s ministry”—namely, evangelizing the whole world by baptism and proclamation of the Gospel (Mt 28:19-20). Much like a church, an altar, or a chalice is consecrated for particular and sacred use, now we have been oriented for this specific purpose: to aid in the mission of the Church.
Bishop Marc Trudeau, our previous rector of the seminary, was both our retreat master in preparation for ordination and our ordaining prelate. He shared many insights with us during our canonical retreat and in his homily during the ordination Mass. In his homily, he reflected upon the three speaking parts of the deacon within the Holy Mass as a reflection for the Christian life. The first point was the proclamation of the Gospel. We are called to become bold proclaimers of the Gospel—perhaps even more so today as our culture continues to become more and more secularized. Secondly, the deacon (and I had the opportunity to speak this part in the ordination Mass) says, “Let us offer each other the sign of peace.” The universal sign of peace is none other than Jesus Christ, who is the only one that can give us that everlasting and authentic peace. Lastly, the deacon dismisses with one of four options, but all directed towards mission. My classmates and I have been ordained—that is, ordered and consecrated—for these reasons: to proclaim the Good News, call for us to share the sign of peace, and to remind us all of our mission as Christians.
It is by God’s providence that we were ordained on the feast day of St. Lawrence Martyr, who also was a deacon in the early Church. May we share the same zeal for the poor whom St. Lawrence believed to be the real gold and silver of the Church. Like St. Lawrence, may we possess the same love and fidelity to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the mission of the Church!
Following the ordination and our official photos, Fr. Matthew Wheeler guided me over to greet all our family and friends that joined us for the celebration—an overwhelming experience. Truly, it is also by God’s providence that I was stationed just in front of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe! As I greeted everyone, I could not help but hear the words of Our Lady to Juan Diego: “Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?” Holy Mary, Mother of God... pray for us!
-Deacon Justin Oh