Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
"A new class of deacons"
by Bishop Blase J. Cupich
(From the July 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
In less than a month, the Catholic Church will gather on Aug. 10 to ordain the newest class of deacons. Not only is this a moment of great celebration for the deacon candidates and their families, but for all of us. That is why I made every attempt to schedule the ordination ceremony in a large enough space, the McCarthey Center on the campus of Gonzaga University. I am personally very grateful to Gonzaga’s president, Dr. Thayne McCulloh, and the university for their generous offer to host us. I want to encourage all of you to attend, much like the diocese gathered nearly two years ago for my installation at the same location.
There are many things that could be said about the important contribution that deacons make to our parish and diocesan life. Let me comment on two in particular.
The first is that deacons have the special task of interpreting for the rest of the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the ecclesial and wider communities. They have their finger on the pulse of what is happening. They do this through a variety of corporal works of mercy, such as visiting the sick and aged, searching out the homeless and hungry, and ministering through education of our youth. There is not one facet of the Church’s life that they are not in touch with, and that gives them the unique opportunity to interpret for the rest of us where are priorities should be.
Secondly, our deacons keep fresh for us the need to imitate Jesus, who came to serve and not be served. As the Church moves through the ages and grows larger, it is easy for her to lose touch with the characteristic that most distinguished Jesus and which motivated the disciples: namely, service. On the night before he died, Jesus, according to the Gospel of John, humbled himself by washing the feet of his disciples and asking them to do the same. We should never forget or lose sight of that prophetic action which Jesus left us as a reminder of how he reveals himself, just as he did in leaving us the Eucharist in memory of him that very same night.
For these and so many other reasons, the ordination of a new class of deacons on Aug. 10 is a moment for us to recall who we are: disciples of Jesus, called to serve, called to make him present in our service. Please plan to join us on this very important day.
I close with a word of thanks to the deacon candidates and their wives for the sacrifice involved in their years of preparation. My thanks as well to Father Michael Savelesky, who has been the Director of Deacon Formation, and all those involved in the training of these candidates. We are so blessed by such generosity and the love of the Church which prompts it.
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