That’s the headline for this heartfelt reflection by Deacon Christopher Gray, who was ordained last week at St. Peter’s at the Vatican and will be ordained a priest in a few months.
From the Intermountain Catholic in Salt Lake City:
At approximately 12:20 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, a pilgrim from Latin America seated in one of the doorways of the Papal Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican asked me to bless her rosaries. It happened as I was leaving the Basilica to return to my home at the Pontifical North American College (NAC). I paused for a second, collecting my thoughts. I reached into my satchel where I had that morning put a small edition of the Book of Blessings, found the blessing for rosaries in the index, turned to the right page, and began the rite.
To a passerby, it must have seemed utterly ordinary: a clerical-looking man in a cassock praying with some pilgrims and making the sign of the cross over them with his hand. Far from being an ordinary occurrence, however, it was something that had never happened before, which only a few hours earlier could not have happened: It was the first blessing I gave through the grace of Holy Orders.
That morning I was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, becoming a member of the clergy of the diocesan church I have served most recently as a seminarian and previously as a writer for the Intermountain Catholic.
I have also served the Diocese of Salt Lake City as a musician, but not until Thursday was I ever an ordinary minister of the Catholic Church, one sent to teach the faith, proclaim the Gospel, and serve the altar and the people of God as a deacon. Thursday morning I became incardinated into the Diocese of Salt Lake City, promising lifelong celibacy, faithful prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, and obedience to our Ordinary, Bishop John C. Wester, and all his successors. For the last six years I have prepared myself to be able to make these promises with full understanding and agreement, and to be as well-formed as possible in order to discharge my duties as a deacon and, God willing, as a priest, in a way that is worthy of Jesus Christ and his followers…
Read on for his description of the rite and his feelings afterword.
Photo: Intermountain Catholic