Permanent Diaconate Yr 3 – March Update

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Well, I think we are officially transitioning to spring! The weather is beautiful, the sun is bright, and everyone seems to be excited for the change in seasons. Despite the penitential nature of Lent, we will soon be celebrating Easter, the death and resurrection of our Lord! Alleluia! I am glad that we will be going into that celebration with good weather and lifted spirits! Anna and I have not had an opportunity to attend Stations of the Cross yet, as we had one family outing booked (we escorted Aspen to go tubing at Kinosoo Ridge…and then we could barely get Anna off the hill!), and have had numerous family commitments. Juggling family and ministry is tough sometimes, but my family is and always must remain first!

Well, I mentioned that last month I was a bit too busy. This month has been a real struggle. The flood at Assumption has taken up a considerable amount of my time, and while I am so very grateful to have had an opportunity to assist the parish by being “on site”, it has set me back a couple of weeks. While I am greatly anticipating Easter for reasons of faith, I’m also looking forward to it as it signals the end of the semester!

This past month I had the honour of attending Newman Theological College and St. Joseph Seminary and presenting to the diocesan vocations directors for western Canada. I gave them my testimonial on taking both the diaconate formation as well as graduate studies. I also had the opportunity to meet one of the local pastors who sits on the Ministerial association. I will be representing St. Dominic and Assumption parishes with the Ministerial, so I was grateful to be able to meet one of the members in advance (to cut down on so many new faces!). Another member of the Ministerial, Deacon Zibby, and I had coffee as well. It was great to touch base with him and see how things are going since his ordination. It is a real blessing to have a local deacon with whom I can collaborate with. Sister Celine and I also met with Pastor AnnE from the Lutheran Church. We will be doing some amazing ecumenical activities over the next couple of months, so keep an eye on the bulletin. We hosted our second screening of the Euthanasia Deception and it was a great turnout (approximately 20 people). Thanks to everyone who came out and learned about this contentious topic. We also had a busy Food Bank day (although I had to leave early to go to a meeting in Bonnyville). Speaking of Food Bank, I was able to attend Pastor Phil Crump’s retirement lunch. For those that don’t know, I am a convert, and when I was just a young lad of 7 years old, I attended Pastor Phil’s church! So, it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate his ministry and thank him for helping set a foundation that has led me to where I am today! I attended Social Justice, Diocesan Loop, Youth Ministry, Search, Liturgy, Faith Formation, Marian Hour, and Refugee meetings as well (one can never go to enough meetings!). I’m just wrapping up my 5th diaconate course of the year, Reconciliation. As I write this, I’m getting ready to get back at writing papers for my Moral Theology and Synoptic Gospels courses. School is busy busy!

On March 5 the deacons, candidates and aspirants (with families) also had our Christmas dinner with the Bishop. Juggling secular jobs and diaconal ministry means it’s exceptionally hard to get everyone together for a meal, and so we finally had our Christmas meal with Bishop Paul. This was only days before he left for his Ad Limina visit to Rome. Sacramentaly, the Deacon is supposed to know the “needs of the people”. That’s why the deacon is the one who reads the prayers of the faithful. Since Bishop Paul was on his way to Rome to report on the diocese, it was especially fitting to have him meet with the diaconate before he reports to Rome. It was also a great opportunity to spend some time with my brothers in the program (unfortunately Joe was not able to come down from Fort Mac) and get to know the new aspirants a bit better.

This coming month will be filled with school and meetings. We are getting ready for our Perogy Fundraiser for Camp St. Louis. On that weekend we have our counsellor reunion AND I have my first diaconate weekend, all on the same set of days! Otherwise, the next month is lots and lots of meetings and events as we lead up to Easter. Please pray for me!

And speaking of praying, I wanted to send out a huge thank you to the Marian Hour group. For those that are not aware, each week a group of dedicated parishioners gather together to pray the rosary (and additional prayers), specifically for the intentions that are contained within the prayer line request book. This group has been an amazing support to the parish, and yet they do not do so for recognition, but simply to help build the Kingdom of God. God bless them all in their ministry!

God bless you and keep you safe.
RY

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