Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Well, the first phase of my journey is nearing its end. I’ve been writing these blog posts for 4 years. As I have said, they had a two-fold purpose. One was to keep you all informed as to what formation for the permanent diaconate entails. The other was a sort of journal, allowing me the opportunity to look back and reflect on all the activities of my formation.
I wanted to start by thanking you all. 5 year ago Anna, Aspen and I arrived from the Philippines. While Cold Lake is my home town, we did not know many in the local Catholic community. However, you welcomed us with open arms. Through the last 5 years, and 4 years that I have been in formation, you have supported me with prayers and words of encouragement. If anyone doubts the power of prayer, let me tell you, they need to feel the full force of the St. Dominic/Assumption Parish community’s prayer!
This past month I had a chance to go to St. Louis Parish and attend all of their weekend Masses. This was to invite their parish to an appreciation BBQ for Camp St. Louis. I was invited to Holy Cross Elementary to do 2 Q+A sessions with the grades 4-6. Their religious ed teacher collected a bunch of questions that they had about their faith and I did my best to answer as many as I could in the session that we had. I was also invited to attend and launch their living rosary. Holy Cross is doing some amazing things, especially in keeping the “Catholic” in Catholic Schools! God bless them all. We had our annual Camp St. Louis cleanup day. As always, the support of the community is overwhelming. This year we got many projects done which have been on my wish list for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the bad storm last weekend downed a bunch of trees, so I’m back to square one! But, our Lord provides and I’m sure everything will be all set for camp!
We celebrated Fr. Nong’s priestly anniversary, I taught some Safe Parish sessions, and I also had a chance to attend several Faith Formation and Marian Hours. A personal highlight was being able to escort Aspen to Fort Edmonton Park. Getting to spend a day with my kiddo always reminds me of what is important in life! Finally, we just finished up a 5 day canonical retreat. This retreat is a requirement for ordination. Fr. Miguel from the Archdiocese of Edmonton was our retreat master, and I have to say, it was one of the best retreats I have been on. What a blessing for the 4 of us to spend 5 days working on deepening our relationship with Christ.
During all of these activities, I continue to work on my course in Ecclesiology. I have one more assignment and one more paper and then I will be done the course! I have one more class, which lasts for the month of July, and then I get the entire month of August off school!
What is happening in the next month? Well, next week I spend the entire week at camp, working to get the site ready for the kids to arrive. Then, the last week of the month, I’m going off the grid a bit. I have only 2 or 3 meetings booked the last week, and will be focusing on some work around the house, but mostly just taking it easy a bit. I want to slow the tempo down as we approach the 29th. After that, I’ll be attending Mass at St. Dom and Assumption on the 30th and 1st, preaching my first Masses as a deacon. After that, its off to camp to get things going!
Please continue to pray for me, my three brothers in formation, and our families. I hope to see you at the ordination on the 29th, and if not, please keep me in your prayers. It has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life…journeying with you as brothers and sisters in Christ. You are and always will be in my prayers.
May the Lord bless you and keep you safe,