Last weekend I had the privilege of traveling to Colorado to preach a spiritual retreat for Permanent Deacons and their wives. As you know, in our Church there are two kinds of deacons: Permanent and Transitional. Deacon Paul and Deacon Jim are Permanent Deacons. To be a deacon is the call they have received from God. A Transitional Deacon is someone who is going to be a priest, is in “transition” to priesthood. Before ordination to priesthood, one is ordained a deacon. While there are theological reasons for this, I think the spiritual reason is most powerful. In the Bible deacons were called to serve the poor and vulnerable in the community. Spiritually, every priest is first ordained a deacon to emphasize that the ground of priestly ministry must be service, particularly to the vulnerable and marginalized in society. I am so grateful for our Deacons Paul and Jim, and the heartfelt care and concern they offer to us all.
Each year I am humbled to receive several invitations to preach retreats to deacons, priests, and to parish communities. I only accept two invitations a year: one for the Fall, and one for the Spring. Why? I see my primary commitment to you, the people of our Collaborative. While a priest is ordained for service to the Church as a whole, our bishop - Cardinal Sean - has sent me to serve you. I am grateful to be your priest, and only accepting two invitations a year keeps my focus with you. As you can imagine, preparing for retreats - as well as my service as a military chaplain - does have direct benefits for my ministry to you and your family. The prayer, reflection, and reading required to prepare a retreat offers spiritual insights and material that broadens my understanding of the Bible. Also, it keeps me current with the latest in theological and spiritual studies. So, while preaching retreats, and serving the women and men of the military, takes me away from our parishes from time to time, my ministry with you benefits. I share two photos from this recent deacon retreat; one is of the entire retreat group - 98 participants - and the other is of one of the deacons (Tom) and me.
Blessings and peace on your week!