"I was ordained to proclaim the Good News, and that's what I'm about"

That’s the happy conclusion of this joy-filled deacon from Australia, who shares his enthusiasm for his vocation with the Catholic Leader newspaper of Brisbane:

If a barometer existed to measure exuberant faith, Deacon Gary Stone’s reading would be off the charts.

“I’m hyperactive,” he admits, grinning, easily elaborating on how ministry as a married deacon propels him to communicate such joy.

“I have two jet engines.

“One is the Sacrament of Marriage and one is the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

“My first priority is to be a good husband and father.
“Then, as a minister of the archbishop, I go to where the Church isn’t as present and isn’t as active – I call it ‘on the margins’.”

Today (July 3), Deacon Gary, along with the other 14 married deacons in Brisbane archdiocese, will experience the final day of a national conference.

He will give a talk on “Practicing what you teach” and was particularly animated when sharing some of his themes.

“Firstly, (the ministry of a married deacon) must be a response to God call and the community need … (and) we fundamentally need an attitude of service,” he said.

“We need to believe that we have graced by ordination for a sanctifying mission in society.

“Thirdly, we need to remember that we are blessed through the Sacrament of Marriage and to minister from that sacrament as well.

“… I believe that all of the life experiences that we’ve had in the past, are part of God’s design preparing us all the ministries that we exercise in the future … (and) it’s vitally important that we bring a spiritual orientation and ministry of evangelisation to the world beyond the Church.

“(And) finally we can model and can lead in the charitable ministry of a missionary church … words must lead to action in fulfilling the mission God has for us in our world.”

There’s much more.  Check it out. He’s lived an amazing life.  There’s an old saying that the best advertisement for the priesthood is a happy priest.  I think the same might said for the diaconate.

Comments

  1. Fiergenholt says:

    And … of course … everyone noticed that he is a uniformed Chaplain for the Australian military — as a permanently ordained married Roman Catholic deacon.

    Fascinating!

  2. “I have two jet engines. One is the Sacrament of Marriage and one is the Sacrament of Holy Orders.”

    Love that!

  3. This is very encouraging as I prepare for my own ordination in September.

    “I have two jet engines. One is the Sacrament of Marriage and one is the Sacrament of Holy Orders.”

    It is difficult to express how very important, necessary, the Sacrament of Marriage has been to my formation. It is the Sacrament that brings me the Grace of God in every moment of my life. Marriage reminds us that God’s grace flows through our relationships. When we are eating, when we are sleeping, when we are fighting, when we are making up, when we say our morning and evening prayers, when we are doing our chores, when we are watching TV together or going for a walk, there is God’s grace.

  4. Deacon Bill says:

    When I served as Executive Director of the Secretariat for the Diaconate at the USCCB, Gary came to visit. It was a great time, and we talked about the military chaplaincy. The US ALMOST went the same direction in the late 1980′s, but the leadership of the AMS has moved in a different direction since the mid 1990′s.

    There have always been about 60 of us deacons serving on active duty at any given time; we all served within our particular military specialties, however, and were never certified as military chaplains. The attempt was made, but unless and until there’s a change in the minds of the bishops of the AMS on how best to interpret canon law concerning chaplaincy and the “cura animarum,” I’m afraid that’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

    Anyway, Gary is a wonderful man and it was an honor to meet him.

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  5. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear Joseph,

    And, once you are ordained, you will find that the grace of Orders will inform and bless your sacrament of matrimony as well. The two sacraments “inform” and support each other.

    I would also ask those here to raise a prayer for the many deacons who serve in the celibate state. While we must always recognize the importance of matrimony FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE MARRIED, we must also remember that being married is not a prerequisite or an inherent part of being deacon.

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  6. CH James E. O'Neal says:

    What a wonderful interview! I enjoyed reading his address I have known Gary for several years now. He came to the US Army Chaplain School and Center and spoke; he received a standing ovation. His energy is infectious. I am hoping to visit him and his wife and family in Brisbane before my tour of duty is over in Korea. God bless our deacons!

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