Permanent Diaconate Yr 4 – March Update

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Wow, how beautiful has the weather been! I have that wariness, born of a few winters in Canada, of Mother Nature’s last laugh. The East Coast is getting battered by a terrible storm right now, so I don’t want to let my guard down. But it has been oh so nice to feel real heat coming from the sun! It seems fitting, as we journey through Lent, to start to feel the warmth of the sun…which peaks for us at Easter!

I appreciate all the prayers of support I have received since my post in February. While this term hasn’t “eased up” at all, I am now only 3 weeks away from finishing! I have 6 more papers to write in my graduate classes and one final exam and I will have the month of April off of graduate studies. I will still have diaconate studies and various other activities, but the lack of graduate studies will allow me to catch my breath and hopefully do some “me” things designed to “refill my spiritual well”. Please keep the prayers coming in, as I need them now more than ever! They are working!

Since my February post, I was able to attend our Ash Wednesday Mass. This is a highlight, as being able to distribute the ashes is a great honour. I have had two weekends in Edmonton for my Eastern Catholic Marriage Law course. If I have not commented previously, it is great to get to spend time with our Eastern brothers and sisters (in this case, Ukrainian Catholics). There are many similarities, but also many differences in our faith traditions. All falling under the Roman Catholic Church, it just goes to show the richness of our faith! While I was in Edmonton in February, I had the opportunity to have supper with a young couple. The husband is a former seminarian, the wife a teacher. It was so great to see such a Christ-centered couple, starting their life together. We had great theological debates, great food, and I hope the start of a great friendship!

Another great honour was attending the key presentation for the most recent Habitat for Humanity home. My altar boy sidekick Jum’s family received the home, and I couldn’t ask for a better family to have this helping hand up! I attended a round table discussion with our MP David Yurdiga on the Canada Summer Job Grant attestation and snuck into the city to attend my nieces 1st Bday Party. I also had my usual Camp St. Louis committee meeting, adult faith formation sessions, Marian Hours, and deacon choir practice. We had our second last diaconate formation weekend, which was all about liturgies. We started it off on Friday night with a meeting with Bishop Paul. This was a great opportunity for him to lay out his vision for our diaconal ministry, answer any questions we had, and discuss some of the practical steps between now and ordination. For the remainder of the weekend, this time I was responsible for leading a Sunday Celebration of the Word. We are assigned a particular liturgy, and must plan the entire liturgy including music, ministries, homily, etc. Then, we assign various tasks to our fellow candidates and their wives, and then work through the liturgy while being critiqued by our rector. While there is relief that these weekends are almost done, they have become a huge part of our life! Bishop Paul has recognized that, and is working with us to ensure the fraternity we have developed carries forward into our ministry.

Finally, during our formation weekend, we also held our annual Camp St. Louis Perogy Fundraiser. As always, those who attended as well as those who helped put it on demonstrated how much support our camp has in the diocese! We raised well over our previous years total, and I believe everyone who attended had a good time! I have not received the total for the February special collection, but between it and the fundraiser, we have started the year off on a positive note! Please continue to pray for the camp. For anyone who looks at the world and is frustrated by what they see, please know that there is a camp in our diocese in which the Holy Spirit is alive and well, working on conforming the hearts of our youth to Christ!

So, what is in store over the next month? Easter! I should be finished my grad classes just in time for the Triduum (my last Edmonton weekend for my Canon Law course is this weekend). Anna and Aspen have the week after Holy Week off, and so I’ve taken it off work as well. A nice week with my girls! We have our LAST formation weekend the first weekend of April, and shortly after that I should wrap up my current diaconate course. 2 more courses and I am done my diaconate theological formation.

Please continue to pray for me, just as I always pray for you!

God bless you and keep you safe!
RY

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