From the Pastor’s Desk
Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sept 24, 2023
‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’
Brothers and Sisters,
Servants are necessary! God needs us! The truth of these statements should bring us comfort and perhaps inspire a few questions, like…”Why?” God chooses to need us, and his invitation to build his Kingdom and serve him is by design. So perhaps another essential question for us to consider next is, “How should I serve?” Let’s look to Jesus for the answer. Christ challenged his disciples not to focus on gaining positions of authority or accolades. With this, our “work” here on earth shouldn’t be by how much wealth we can amass because of it. Instead, we should live our Christian lives with generosity, open to sharing our talents and opportunities to labor for Christ. As such, our fellow parishioners become our welcomed collaborators, agreeing not to get caught up in silly disagreements or jealousy as we humbly build God’s Kingdom together. God needs us ALL! And as we advance toward our goal, let’s remember that God deserves all the credit (and thus the pay). Only by God’s generosity do we inherit the treasure beyond value, eternal life.
The diaconate is a witness to Christ the Servant. The Holy Spirit prompted the Church to establish the ministry of deacons as a response to charity, enabling the Church to be shared equitably. And yet, the diaconate as an Order of the Church disappeared from the Roman Catholic Church for centuries (to be honest, as some of my classmates from the Eastern Catholic Churches remind me, it did not disappear entirely from the other Rites). Yet, Vatican II restored the fullness of the diaconate by inviting men to discern the diaconate, distinct from the priesthood. The beauty of the deacon is apparent in their witness as a living icon of Christ the Servant. Our parish is thankful for and blessed by the ministry and service of Deacons Mike and Roch. Few realize that while professionally formed and trained, they do not receive a wage for their efforts unless they simultaneously maintain a position for hire in Deacon Roch’s case. Please pray for him as he accepts a new work position in October with the Archdiocese’s Institute for Evangelization, essentially continuing his work at the parish level and supporting many parishes in their efforts. For clarity, he will remain a deacon at OLPH (but his day job will take Deacon Roch to many more places).
This Saturday, September 30, at 10 am at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Archbishop Lori will ordain 14 men to the diaconate in a beautiful celebration of the Eucharist along with many deacons and priests that fill the large sanctuary (and sometimes more). Men anticipating ordination will process forward, then join their spouses and families in the pews. After the Gospel, these same men will be asked to step forward, to which they will respond, “Present,” indicating that they are available to the Lord in this ministry. After the sermon, they’ll offer promises and then lay prostrate before the altar as we, the Church, implore the prayers of the saints over them. Archbishop Lori will then lay hands upon them, offering blessings of ordination. At that point, as deacons, they will be vested with the stole (symbolizing the authority of ordination) and the dalmatic (reminder of their role as servants in the liturgy). Archbishop Lori will then entrust the Gospel to them, instructing them to be witnesses to the Word in their teaching, preaching, and lives. You are invited to Join Mike King, a parishioner of OLPH, Manuel Aliaga (who has served over the past year at OLPH), and their brothers for their joyous occasion. You are also requested and welcome to join us for the 11 am Mass on Sunday, October 1, as “Deacon” Mike King serves at his first Mass, where he will preach. Afterward, join his wife Diane, daughter Jenny, parents, and family for a light reception in the Parish Center Gym. Let us truly give thanks for the precious gift that is the diaconate.