“To be a deacon in today’s church is to be busy. Very busy.”

A few words from someone in a position to know, from the next edition of Our Sunday Visitor:

On an otherwise unremarkable Sunday in July 2007, I found myself face-to-face with a bewitching young Irish lass, Margaret Flanagan, who would forever change my life.

I remember gazing down at her pink cheeks and laughing eyes. I recall fondly that gaping toothless grin and her scream that could shatter stained glass.

How could I forget her? Margaret Flanagan was the first baby I baptized.

My brief encounter with her marked one more milestone in my journey as a newly ordained deacon.

What a journey it’s been. From the moment it began in May 2007, my life as a deacon has been marked by moments of unexpected grace. I have been renewed. I’ve been inspired. I’ve been challenged. I’ve been awed.

One of my favorite hymns from my childhood is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” with its thundering verse: “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!” I’ve been doing a lot of pondering over the last six years.

And I’ve been doing a lot … of everything.

To be a deacon in today’s Church is to be busy. Very busy. A parishioner once described a deacon to me as “the priest’s helper.” That about sums it up. And priests need more help today than ever. Besides babies to baptize, there are couples to marry and houses to bless and homilies to preach. My calendar fills up quickly. On any given week, a deacon may find himself teaching RCIA, attending a parish council meeting, training altar servers, taking Communion to the homebound and spending a night or two poring over a biblical commentary to find the seeds of that Sunday’s homily. All that, in addition to helping his own kids with their homework and attending a parent-teacher conference and finding time to clean out the gutters and figure out why the car is leaking oil and explaining to his daughter why having her nose pierced — despite what her friends are saying — may not be the coolest thing she’s ever done.

Yes, it’s a busy life. And it’s a wonderful life, too — a life of unexpected blessings and surprises and lessons.

Read the rest, if you can stand it.


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