Monday, May 15, 2017

Deacons and Mothers

Friends of Faith:

As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them
. Acts 6: 1-7

I am constantly amazed at the timeliness of Scripture as today I write to invite you to celebrate with us Andy & Stan’s upcoming ordinations.

Andy will be ordained for service in the Order of the Diaconate on Friday, May 26th at 7:00 p.m. in St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque. While for him this is yet another step (Transitional Deacon) on his path to the vocation of Priesthood (next year on May 26th, 2018) it is an extremely important step as he will make his promises of obedience and celibacy. He will be assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in Marshalltown for the summer and return to Mundelein Seminary for his final year of formal formation.

Stan will be ordained as a Permanent Deacon on July 15th (more details to follow). For us this has been a 4 ½ year journey taken together to be culminated with a new, more formal call, for Him to service and obedience to the Church. As he has been reminding me all weekend – “Do you realize we just went to our last formation class?” I don’t think I’ll fully realize that we won’t be sitting in a classroom at Covenant Hospital most Saturday’s until we don’t have to return to class in August.

So what does the call to diaconate have to do with mothers – and why was it so timely?

Yesterday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles was the first call and ordination to diaconate in the formation of the Church for the very reason of taking care of widows and children – serving mother’s in their role as mother’s.

Many people don’t want to acknowledge this today, but men and women ARE really very different. Not only did God create us different in the human (biological) form, but He also created us for very different social and spiritual roles in the world and the Church. Men were given the role to be protectors and providers; women the role of the womb from which all are formed and then nurtured (biologically and/or spiritually).

And yet neither, male or female, are we, will we, or can we, be truly complete without the other AND without God. Every person has a mother AND a father for this very reason – no child can biologically be born without both. And ALL (men & women) are called to help all others become Holy and to take care of and serve each other.

The servant role is the role the Deacon of the Church has been called to and it’s not a coincidence, but rather by design that it is connected to mothers; both serving with an unselfish desire and dedication to build the Kingdom of God – His children.

God promised that He would take care of our every need – and if we connect the dots, and observe how mothers and deacons serve we are being very well taken care of within the wisdom of His Church.

The similarities and unity of the mother and deacon don’t stop in this one Scriptural passage. Deacons and mothers both have: many years of intense formal training; ongoing, informal, on the job training; jobs never quite completed; duties never fully realized; jobs that are ever-changing, and neither can possibly be thanked or appreciated enough. Most importantly both survive when and because they are guided by prayer!

Heavenly Father: Your creation is most perfect. Thank you for creating Mothers and Deacons to serve each other and for their constant work in serving so that others may come to know holiness. Continue to guide the Church to protect their roles and to form us as willing servants in their reflection. And please bless Andy, Stan and their classmates who will be ordained in the coming weeks. Amen.

You are all invited to attend either or both of the Ordination Masses. Please contact us if you have any questions.

May we all serve each other as unconditionally as our mothers and the deacons serve us.

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