View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

St. Stephen: Diaconal thoughts

The Feast of St. Stephen. Deacon.

How appropriate.

Now that the Christmas season is nearly over – and the hectic days of "helping" Santa at the mall are done – I can step back and take a breath.

And think.

Last year, I had begun the process of discerning if I was called to the permanent diaconate. I hit a roadblock thanks to some foolish actions earlier in my life, but before I could even discover (with the help of some local canon lawyers) whether this roadblock could be cleared, my mother got sick, was hospitalized, and died after struggling for more than a month.

Her final illness, the funeral, and taking on the care of my father and grandmother, pretty much ended the diaconate effort.

But now Nana is dead, God rest her soul.

My mother's estate is pretty much settled.

The girls are all off at college (or married).

Dad is happily residing at a nearby adult home, and we have a buyer for the family home.

There was enough money left over from Nana's estate to pay a few bills, and I can finally afford to quit the part-time job that had eaten up my weekends (and thus time for training, classes, and retreats).

So, I called the diocese. We go back to square one. If I can overcome the roadblock, then I will consider entering the program. The entry process alone takes a year - so if I did get accepted, I would actually start in 2008, and then be ordained in 2012.

Thus St. Stephen's Feast is a good day to begin.

Pray for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds wonderful. I sincerely hope that they give you the chance to overcome your youthful indiscretion. I'm going through a somewhat similar process. I just enrolled in seminary (Lutheran) in spite of plenty of wrong-living in my twenties. I made a point of admitting them and the seminary was happy to look past them since God in his grace had already forgiven them. Gook Luck!

I've just taken a moment to pray that in confronting this situation you will be brought closer to God and improved as a man to fulfill whatever purpose he has for you.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Richard Grabman said...

Good luck to ya' Lee... but didn't you and I once decide Saint Stephen was the Patron Saint of marijuana? ... after all, St. Paul got him stoned ;-)

2:45 AM  
Blogger Ray Grosswirth said...

Please accept my condolences and prayers upon the death of your mother.

Concerning your discernment, I hope you will go ahead with the journey. I think you would be an outstanding deacon.

I considered the diaconate myself. However, even though I already have an M.A. and M.Div, I was told I would nevertheless need to go through four years of formation, which could have entailed repeating courses I had already taken. So, as you know, I followed an alternative path to priesthood.

Don't let an indiscretion from your past discourage you. I have found that the Rochester formation team appreciates an applicant's honesty about one's past, and your life in its entirety certainly is indicative of your aptitude for ordained ministry.

I wish you luck.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Thank you Ray.

The local team is very good, but the indiscretion may ultimataly need Vatican involvement! Sometimes I'm too outspoken and stubbron for my own good.

We'll see what happens.

Dick, good to hear from you. I read your new blog, but don't post. I should. How's Texas these days? Waiting for the return of Bush in two years?

Do you know Dave N. lives down that way?

1:51 PM  

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