On August 8, the Solemnity of Saint Dominic, I received the sacrament of Holy Orders by being ordained a deacon alongside my classmate, Br. Cody Jorgenson. The event marked a profound change to my role in the Church. As the Catechism tells us in paragraph 1570, a deacon shares in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. Through the sacrament, he is marked with what the Church calls an imprint or “character” which cannot be removed, and which configures him to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or “servant” of all. The title “deacon” comes from the Greek word “diakonia,” which in Christian theology signifies service.
All ordained Catholic ministers are set apart by Christ through Holy Orders for service to the Body of Christ, the Church. Bishops and their brother priests serve the Church primarily by confecting all of the sacraments and providing order to the Church through their participation in Christ’s headship of the Body. Deacons, by comparison, do not participate in Christ’s headship, but instead focus on service through ministry. Among other tasks, it is my job as a deacon to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the Eucharist, including the distribution of Holy Communion. I am able to bless and assist at marriages, preside over funerals, proclaim the Gospel, and preach during Mass. Additionally, a deacon is supposed to dedicate himself to various ministries of charity, which happens through the exercise of the different spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Please pray for me as I grow in this special vocation of service to the Church. As a Dominican friar in formation for the priesthood, I believe that if I can be a good servant as a deacon, that should bode well for my ability to serve as a priest. Know that I will also be praying for you as you live out your role in the Body of Christ.
Saint Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body”. As we perform our various roles in the Body of Christ, let us be mindful of our shared goal: eternal happiness with our loving Creator.
-Br. Andrew Opsahl, O.P.
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