The readings listed today are not those for the daily Mass, as for the ordination of Deacons they have been varied.
Today sees the ordination to the Permanent Deaconate of 5 men from our diocese, including John Andrews from our Parish. In the news section of the website is a link to the live stream from Clifton Cathedral for those not able to travel to Bristol.
So how and why did I come to this point in my life, where I am to be one of those five? Almost 25 years ago I met a Deacon, (David Wakefield, RIP) at a retreat centre which he managed, and (very!) early on Sunday morning it so happened that we both needed a coffee, and we met in the kitchen. This led to a conversation, which opened my eyes to the possibility. Hitherto I had only seen Deacons as 'super-servers', because I only ever saw them participating in Mass. He shared with me about his calling - to serve the people of God, through the Word of God (catechising, preaching, proclaiming Gods word), through service at the Altar - symbolising the people of God sharing in the sacrifice of the Mass, and through service of Love of the people - in his case, running a retreat centre. Although all of these involved him doing things - none of them defined him - he was defined as being a Deacon by being a person prepared to do those things.
Two decades later, and an initial application being turned down ("but come again in a few years time") I found that the call to be a deacon had not gone away. Somewhat like a tap on the shoulder, God seemed to be constantly calling me forward. So I once again talked about the deaconate with my wife, my friends, and Deacons near me - and once again applied to join the formation program.
Canon Christopher Whitehead, who runs the formation program, has led us through six years preparation, all the time reminding us that discernment is not a quick thing. All of those sessions, essays, conversations and readings are there to help us, and those involved in our formation, to discern this calling by God to this mission of being a deacon. As he puts it - we are always at liberty to ring the bell and ask to be let of the bus, and the bus conductor always has the freedom to suggest to us that we are on the wrong bus! But, that wheather we stay on to the final bus stop (ordination) or get off along the way - we will have grown and developed more into what God wants us to be, than if we never began the journey.
If you think that you might be called - talk to any Deacon, your Parish priest, or contact Fr Christopher directly: his details are on the diocesan website. An initial conversation may lead to you hopping onto a bus journey that allows you to change others lives - and your own.
Thank you for your prayers and support along the way.