Four men from Allen Hall were ordained to the diaconate at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful end to the seminary year. Archbishop Vincent said that a deacon is consecrated to a life of service to others, and that this spirit of service is like a seal that is imprinted on his very being. You can read a full report about the service here, which includes a few paragraphs from each of the new deacons about their own story and what helped them in their vocation.
If you have never been to an ordination, here are the questions that the bishop puts to the candidates before they prostrate themselves for the litany of saints. It’s very powerful to hear a group of young men make these lifelong commitments in front of so many people. The answer to each question, by the way, is ‘I am’!
Are you willing to be ordained for the Church’s ministry by the laying on of hands and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Are you resolved to discharge the office of deacon with humility and love in order to assist the bishop and the priests and to serve the people of Christ?
Are you resolved to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, as the Apostle urges, and to proclaim this faith in word and action as it is taught by the Gospel and the Church’s tradition?
Are you resolved to maintain and deepen the spirit of prayer appropriate to your way of life and, in keeping with what is required of you, to celebrate faithfully the liturgy of the Hours for the Church and for the whole world?
Are you resolved to shape your way of life always according to the example of Christ, whose body and blood you will give to the people?
And after the prayer of consecration and the putting on of the stole and dalmatic (the deacon’s vestments), the bishop places the Book of the Gospels in the hand of the new deacon and says:
Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.
A reminder that you do not have to be a saint in order to preach the Gospel, just a believer, but that you do need to have a desire to live by your own preaching.
(Lawrence OP gives the following commentary on the image above: “According to legend, after being martyted, ravens protected St Vincent’s body from being devoured by wild animals, until his followers could recover the body. This painting in Burgos Cathedral depicts that miraculous event.”)