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laying on of hands (photo by Margaret Johnson)

Thank you for visiting my website, which I’ve titled Reflections. On Saturday, June 17th, 2017 (just two weeks ago as I write this!), Bishop David Konderla ordained me to a sharing in the Diakonia of Jesus Christ through the laying on of hands and the imposition of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure I’ll have more to write about that amazing experience in the near future, but this first post is a reflection from later that evening.

At 5:00 p.m. that same day, I assisted at my first Mass as a deacon at my home parish, which I’ve attended basically since I was five years old. I’ve attended thousands of Masses there, read the readings at hundreds, and served at the altar at dozens, but this was quite a different experience: carrying the Book of the Gospels, venerating the altar, proclaiming from the Bread of Life discourse in John 6, preaching my first the time I sat down at the end of the Liturgy of the Word, I was overwhelmed and thought I could “settle in” for the rest of the Mass.

Little did I know that God had another surprising moment in store for me!

The deacon stands at the altar with the celebrant for the Eucharistic Prayer but kneels from the Epiclesis (“Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall…”) through the Institution Narrative, in which the celebrant says the words of Christ (“This is my body...This is the chalice of my blood”) thus transforming the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.

As I knelt at the altar for the first time as a deacon, I bowed my head for these words of Christ and raised it to see the priest raise the host and the chalice to God the Father. As he held up the polished-silver chalice of the Precious Blood, I realized that I had a most unique perspective. Kneeling beside the priest, I could see on the side of the chalice a panoramic reflection, including him on one side, myself in the middle, and the congregation on the other.

A unified reflection of the Church, clergy and laity, wrapped around the one chalice of the one Blood of Christ.

I hope, over a lifetime of ordained service to Christ and his Church, to reflect upon this reflection and try to unpack all the meaning it holds, and I hope you might like to share this journey with me.

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