Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Well, I guess I should be more grateful as I stare out the window at the rain. Rain! Finally. I’m not sure if anyone read the article recently, but Edmonton has broken the record for the number of sub zero days in a row. 167. So, I shall stop complaining that it is raining, and be grateful that it is above zero! And, from a spiritual perspective, we are in the great season of Easter! Happy Easter! Alleluia Alleluia!
It still surprises me when I think that after this, I have only 2 more blog posts regarding my 4 years of formation to the diaconate. 4 years of formation, but a journey that began about 13 or 14 years ago with my parish priest telling me I should become a deacon. Fr. Gary has since passed away, and it will add a slightly bittersweet element to my ordination (God willing!). However, I know he will be there, praying for me, most especially during the Eucharist (and also when I vest…as he was ever so fond of vestments!)
I continue to appreciate all of the prayers of support. Last term was “rough”, and I know without a doubt that it was your support that helped me make it through. Jesus was there with me every step of the way, but you helped me to keep my human weakness from blinding me to that truth. I hope that each and every one of you can look at my ministry and appreciate your contribution to it.
The highlight of this past month is obviously Easter: Holy Week including the Triduum. Unfortunately I was only able to attend one session of the Stations of the Cross, but it was nice to see the big crowd! I had a last minute invite to present on the Passion of Christ to the CWL (and guests). It is a talk I am passionate about and want to build upon, so it was a blessing to be able to present. Chrism Mass was also another excellent liturgy. Two things stood out. The first was that it was great to meet one of our new seminarians, Mariel. Secondly, it made my heart happy to see Liz E there to receive the oils. I am so proud of her strength and resilience. The Triduum was lovely as always, and it was great to see Aspen serve. Poor girl got pretty pooped though and had to step out for the first time during a Mass. She was so upset, but was literally just exhausted. This year I am intentionally concentrating on the fact that Easter does not finish with the Triduum. I am surprised to see how many people look at me funny when I greet them “Happy Easter”, as we are in the Easter season for some time yet!
Since I last wrote, I was able to finish up my courses on Eastern Marriage Law and Revelation. I traveled into the city to write my final exam in Marriage Law, and Anna/Aspen joined me. We had a nice couple of days in the city, tackling some medical appointments, babysitting the niece/nephew, visiting with a good friend (and trying Ethiopian food for the first time), hanging out with Fr. Paul, and getting a little bit of shopping in. I also had a meeting with my faculty adviser at Newman, and my courses for next year are starting to be finalized. I’m still waiting for my marks, and while I struggled this term, I am confident I passed.
I had my usual Camp St. Louis meeting, days in the office at Assumption and St. Paul, Faith Formation, Marian Hour, etc. One benefit of my job is the flexibility, and so I was able to take advantage of that and attend Aspen’s piano recital for the music festival. I am so proud of her hard work and talent with the piano! One day, who knows, maybe she will plan music at Mass! I even had enough time to catch one of Bishop Scott’s (Military Ordinariate) “chapel” mission presentations.
We had our final diaconate formation weekend. Again, this was slightly bittersweet, as the opportunities to gather with all three of my brothers-in-formation will be much less frequent (Chrism and our annual retreats). However, I am so very excited and proud of how far we have all come, and whether I am officially called to ordination or not, I will forever be blessed to have the friendship of these men (and their wives).
So, what is in store over the next month? I am working on my second last diaconate course, Theology of God. The beginning of May signals the start of a new term at Newman, in which I will be taking Ecclesiology. I will be attending the Feast of St. Kateri, a Marian procession in St. Paul led by the Missionaries of Charity, and possibly the March for Life in Edmonton. Aspen has her big musical at the beginning of May, and that is a priority!
Please continue to pray for me, just as I always pray for you! As we approach ordination, all of my brothers and I have experienced increased pressure from our adversary. The power of prayer is so efficacious, and so please pray for me, especially to Mama Mary, St. Stephen, and St. Lawrence.
God bless you and keep you safe!