Sunday, May 17, 2009

Springtime in the Sanctuary

We interrupt the chaos and controversy of this Sunday for what, this year, has been a relatively unsung sign of hope and life in our midst.

Ordination Season's in full swing 'round these parts -- yesterday, the local dioceses celebrated the birth of a combined ten new priests, each of whom'll celebrate their First Masses this afternoon.

For the record, one of the number is a longtime friend, so it's been a tremendously happy -- and, yep, hectic -- weekend. It was a joy and gift to witness yesterday, and today'll be just as moving. Bottom line, though: please keep this kind, wonderful bro, now a Father for us all, and the other 309 giving their "yes" this spring on these shores especially in your prayers.

Suffice it to say, they're entering a challenging world.

Just as much, it's another banner year for the permanent diaconate, now firmly established as the US church's fastest-growing ministry.

A thousand (or so) new deacons'll bloom here in the States over these weeks, providing the living witness in the workplace and the world that was envisioned on the role's restoration in the days of the Council. Our new deacons and their wives need prayers, too -- for starters, the juggling act of family, the day-job and the ministry they've given their "yes" to undertake is no easy task.

And of course, as a new class rises, it's likewise anniversary time for most of our heroes of the trenches -- those priests and deacons whose day-in, day-out love, devotion, selflessness and service have brought this church from death to life, one soul at a time, more times and in more ways than could ever be measured.

Sure, it mostly doesn't grab headlines, but their sacrifices, their fidelity, their quiet, consistent yield are each as great as they're usually unsung... sometimes even in the places one would expect them to be appreciated as they deserve. Regardless, and much as we might fail to realize it sometimes, each of us is immensely in their debt -- God knows how worse off we'd be without 'em, eh?

So to all this year's ordinands, all the congrats and every prayer and blessing in the world as you head off into the Vineyard. And to our vets, no words could ever say enough thanks... and please, please, keep it up.

To one and all, ad multos, multos annos.

PHOTOS: Getty(1); The Catholic Sun(2); The Tidings(3)