We just had two ordinations, one to the diaconate and one to the priesthood. This is indeed a cause for great joy for the Church of Vancouver and for the Cathedral! In ordinations three men were ordained and in both cases one of each will serve here at the Cathedral. We are especially grateful for the new ministry of Deacon Richard Chau and Father Juan Ignacio Lucca.
Deacon Richard was ordained on May 26 as a permanent deacon. Permanent deacons, unlike transitional deacons, can be married before their ordination. As a deacon he has been ordained to assist with the charitable work of the Church as recorded in Acts of the Apostles, chapter 6. The word “deacon” comes from the Greek word ‘diakonos’, which means ‘servant’. Though all Christians by baptism are called to ‘diakonia,’ or service, deacons serve as a public sacramental sign of Christ in and at the service of the world. Like a priest, a deacon is a member of the clergy who shares in the ministry of the Bishop. Deacon Richard is now called to serve then, both at the Table of God, the Altar of the Church, but also the table of the poor and suffering. However, there are a few important differences between a priest and deacon. Deacons do not celebrate Mass, hear confessions, or anoint the sick; they extend the sacramental presence of Christ’s service outside of the Church and into the secular world.
The service of the deacon is threefold. As a servant of charity, the deacon personally serves the poor, the aged, the sick, and the imprisoned, bringing the Gospel to all those in need. As a servant of the Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel and preach at liturgical celebrations. They provide catechetical instruction, adult faith formation, and sacramental preparation. And, as a Servant of the Sacraments deacons assist The Most Holy Trinity priests during Mass, administer baptisms, witness marriages, preside at funerals and wakes, Benedictions and lead community prayer services.
On June 3 we had 3 ordinations to the priesthood here at the Cathedral. Giovanni Schiesari, Francesco Voltaggio and Juan Lucca have very generously responded to the invitation of Jesus himself to serve Him and His Church as priests. However, we have to remember that their ordination is God’s doing not ours; that their call is a pure gift, not an earned reward and that it is His Grace that lifts up our nature. By ordination these three men have the character of Christ the Priest, the Good Shepherd branded in their hearts as their very identity. These men now act in the person of Christ to lead us to him by the celebration of the Mass and the preaching of the Word.
However, priests do far more than celebrate Mass and pray all day. The life of a priest is busy, demanding and at times challenging; however, it is a very rewarding life. It’s a threefold mission to teach, govern and sanctify. As teachers priest teach the faith. In the ministry of governing priests are pastors who manage parishes where they shepherd, guide and encourage the faithful. And finally, they are called to sanctify the world through the Liturgy and the faithful administration of the sacraments, encouraging all to live a life of holiness.
The Holy Spirit is active in the Church calling men to serve at His Altar and to help others fall in love with Jesus who is Love. We need to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and to the diaconate, we have to ask God for more shepherds that will keep us close to him.
Fr. Pablo Santa Maria