The Icon of Christ the Servant

It’s hard to believe that I am approaching my third year of ministry here at St. Peter’s. These past three years have been a time of great learning and the gradual integration of my life roles as husband, father, grandfather and deacon. I am so grateful to Father Steven, and to all our faithful staff, for helping me in my transition.

From time to time, I think it is good to talk about what a deacon does and does not do. I often find it simpler to start with what a deacon does not do, because nearly everything else falls into ministry of a deacon.

As deacon, I am present at the altar in service, but I do not pray the prayer of consecration. A deacon is considered an ordinary minister of Holy Communion. You will see me assisting Father Steven by preparing the altar, receiving the gifts and purifying the vessels, which are all part of the deacon’s service at the altar.

You may see me coming out of a confessional, but it won’t be because I just heard someone’s confession! As a deacon, I do not have faculties to hear confessions or grant absolution. I often joke that I tend to hear many confessions; I am just not allowed to forgive the sins of my sisters and brothers.

Finally, a deacon is not given faculties to offer the sacrament of anointing of the sick. Many of you have had the experience of watching a priest offer the last rites to a dying person. This beautiful sacrament can include the anointing, confession of sins and viaticum, the Eucharist offered to the dying person as strength for their journey. As a deacon, I can offer prayers and viaticum at the bedside of a dying person, but not the sacrament of anointing.

Every priest was first a deacon. The sacrament of holy orders is conferred on men who are studying for the priesthood at the end of their third year of seminary, when they become transitional deacons. It is hoped that they will progress through one more year of seminary to be ordained to the priesthood. A permanent deacon is ordained to the diaconate and receives the sacrament of holy orders, but does not go on to become a priest. There is only one sacrament of holy orders, and it is conferred when a man becomes a deacon. While there are many differences in the charism of priest and deacon, both are ordained to service in the Church.

We recently redesigned and re-allocated office space, and I now have my own office. I want to extend an invitation to anyone in the parish in need of spiritual help to call on me. Now that I have been at St. Peter’s for a while, I find that God is placing more people in my path who are in need of ministry. Father Steven and I work very closely. We regularly discuss the needs of the parish and how we can work together to meet those needs. In an effort to be more available to the parish, I will now have regular evening office hours, for those who wish to see me. I will be available on Wednesday or Thursday evenings effective immediately. You can set up a meeting with me by calling my parish number, which is 651-905-4301.

I am anxious to step up in service to assist Father Steven with the many needs of our community. As a husband, father and grandfather, I can offer guidance and counsel on marital and family issues, as well as spiritual direction. I can also offer a listening heart and prayer to anyone who is struggling or hurting with any issue in their life.

The Spirit is moving powerfully at St. Peter’s. The Spirit may shine a light in a particular area of your life, in which the Lord would like to work. This may be a desire for deeper holiness, or perhaps an awareness of a wound that the Lord wants to heal. In addition, our adoration chapel is drawing many of us to a closer relationship with the Lord. Because each of us experiences the outpouring of the Spirit in different ways, we may feel the need to seek counsel or direction. This is a natural part of the process of growing in our faith.

Father Steven and I are disposed to minister, in both times of need and times of discovery. We are hoping that our new office space and my extended ministry hours in the evening will help us to reach more of the faithful in our parish.

May God continue to pour out His abundant blessings on each of you!

In Christ who came to serve,
Deacon Tim

 

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