A few years ago, one of my friends asked me “when the time comes, will you embrace your diaconate as a good thing in itself, or will you simply see it as a step on the way to priesthood?” Now that I have been ordained a deacon, her question has become ever more relevant for me. After all, my journey that began in February 2012 was preparing me to be a priest, and instead, at least for now, I am a deacon.
I got to baptise three children from the same family, a memory I will treasure forever.
The ordination itself was a special night, as I stood before the people of God while the Bishop laid his hands on me, ordaining me to the diaconate. To give the instruction for the sign of peace and the dismissal for the first time were both very exciting moments. Preaching my first homily that weekend in Mudgee, with my parents present, was also a highlight: finally, I got to proclaim the Gospel and to unpack it for the people as an ordained member of God’s faithful. The following Sunday I got to baptise three children from the same family, a memory I will treasure forever.
In many ways very little has actually changed, and yet in subtle ways everything has.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was in the mundane moments too that my role in the church would change. Praying the office takes on new meaning for me, now that I have promised to do so for the entire world! The way I relate to parishioners has also changed in an intangible but very real way. When I am out in Mudgee, I know that I am representing the whole Church in a way that I didn’t beforehand. In many ways very little has actually changed, and yet in subtle ways everything has.
So to answer my friend’s question, I am trying very hard to embrace and enjoy being a deacon, but in the back of my mind I also know that I am continuing to prepare to be a priest, and that this serves as a stepping stone, preparing me through my diaconal service to one day, please God, live my priestly vocation to the full. I ask for the ongoing prayers of all as I continue to learn and grow so that I may continue to have a fruitful ministry as a deacon and, hopefully one day, as a priest.