Bishop Mark J. Seitz Diaconate Ordination 2014 June 14, 2014 St. Stephen
FIRST READING – Jeremiah 1:4–9 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
RESPONSORIAL PSALM – Psalm 100(99):1b, 2, 3, 4, 5 (R/. John 15:14)
SECOND READING – Ephesians 4:1–7, 11–13 “And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry…”
GOSPEL -John 15:9–17 ”It was not you who called me, it was I who called you…”
Diaconia, The Vocation of Deacons and of All the Baptized
I received my vocation to follow the Lord very early in my life. It was a response to a God who loved me with an unconditional love that I never could have merited. In this moment I gave my life to the service, to the diaconia, of God and his people. This was my vocation! For this I was made! His boundless love entered my life and although I had the freedom to reject it, I also received the grace to cooperate with this great gift. Every day I give thanks for this wonderful day in when God revealed his call in my life.
I give thanks, but I don’t remember very well the day when this took place. The truth is I was young, very young! There I was lying prostrate before the representative of the Church. Everyone in the church prayed the Litany of the Saints. (I still don’t remember any of this, but this is what I am told.) It’s not that I was nervous. How could I remember? It was just a week after I was born! But in this moment the word of God came to me affirming the call that had been part of the plan of God from the time I was formed in my mother’s womb.
I received my call to the service of the Lord in my Baptism and not only I, but all of us received our vocation as a response to the super-abundant love of God. Diaconia is, in its primary sense, our vocation as Christians. We could also speak in the same way about the priesthood.
Today we are gathered here because there are vocations within the calling of all the Baptized. Every person is given his or her particular way in which they are called to live their Baptismal vocation. They might be called to live their calling as married persons or celibate. They may live it working in the secular world or as a religious, living in community.
Even within the diaconate we can find many possibilities. Those who are not already married dedicate their lives to service as a sign of the presence of the reign of God already present within the world by making a promise of celibacy. They are signs of that life to come in which, as Jesus reminds us, people are not married or given in marriage. Others who are married at the time of their ordination commit themselves to offer their diaconia drawing from the font of their marriage and their family life. Some deacons are going to serve in part through their work in the world. Others who are already retired will dedicate all their time to service in their parishes. Our two Transitional Deacons, Gleen and Apolinar, will continue their studies and their parish experiences.
Just as for me, all of you who are going to receive the imposition of my hands, have discovered your baptismal vocation and in your walk as disciples you have heard the particular manner in which the Lord would like to receive your service. In this way and through the example of your lives, much more than through your words, many will discover, as if in a mirror, their own vocations—the way in which they are going to offer their diaconia to the Lord.
We give thanks to the Lord because he has chosen us from the beginning to be His friends. And today, after years of discernment, we have arrived at this new chapter in your pilgrimage. All of us in the Diocese of El Paso are joyful because in you we are able to see the love of the God. In your diaconia we are challenged to live our own. Therefore we all give glory to Christ, our friend and our Saving Lord!