Guest column from Fr. Joshua Allen:
Let’s talk about priests and deacons. First and foremost, I am happy to announce that Archbishop Gregory has assigned to us a new pastor! His name is Fr. Neil Herlihy, and he is currently pastor at St. Peter the Rock Catholic Church in The Rock, GA. Let’s all begin praying for Fr. Neil as he makes his transition to Saint Brigid. When we spoke, he indicated that he would be here around the middle or end of June. Of course, he is the only priest at his parish, so we’ll have to wait until the new pastor of St. Peter’s arrives. We’re all excited to meet him and to experience the pastoral love God has put in his heart!
Secondly: Brian Baker is soon to be ordained a deacon! This upcoming week, he will be away on his retreat, growing close to our Lord and preparing to give himself in service to Christ and his Church. Brian will be ordained a Transitional Deacon, whereas our other deacons are Permanent Deacons. This just means that priesthood is the next stop for Brian, something we will expect next summer.
All priests are ordained deacons first. The diaconate is about service: service at the altar and service in the community. The first deacons were chosen in the Acts of the Apostles specifically to carry out the ministry of charity in the community. The Permanent Diaconate, open to married men, was restored in the Second Vatican Council, and opened a treasure of service to the Church. We are truly blessed with our deacons at Saint Brigid, and I am happy that Brian will be joining their ranks, albeit temporarily.
Please mark your calendars! Brian will be ordained a deacon at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Saturday, May 25, and then he will celebrate his first service at the altar and deliver his first homily on Trinity Sunday, which is Sunday May 26 at the 10:45 AM Mass. There will be a reception in Corbett hall immediately following, to which you are all invited. Come and congratulate Brian on his new life of service in the Church, conformed to Christ the Servant, in preparation for the joyful day when he will be consecrated a priest of Jesus Christ.
And speaking of that…don’t forget about Deacon Dennis Dorner, Jr.! Deacon Dennis will be ordained a priest on June 8 at the Cathedral of Christ the King. If you have never been to a First Mass, I cannot recommend it enough. Deacon Dennis will celebrate his First Mass at St. Brigid on June 9 at 10:45 AM. This is such a beautiful moment in the life of the Church, and I promise you: you don’t want to miss it.
I remember at my first Mass being shocked and surprised at the joy I felt in my heart as I consecrated the Eucharist. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment, nor will anyone who was there!
For those of you who would like to give a gift to Deacon Dennis to celebrate his ordination, it’s entirely appropriate. The best gifts really are simple: money and prayers. Being ordained a priest is expensive: chalices and vestments cost, in total, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. If you’d like to give him a gift, something to help him defray the cost of his new vestments and chalice would be much appreciated. Feel free to simply give it to him at his reception, or you can send a gift to me here at the Church. Be sure it is clearly marked as a gift for Deacon Dennis, and know that this would not be considered a tax-deductible gift for the purposes of your income tax return.
But most of all—and I really mean this—please pray for Deacon Dennis and Soon-to-be Deacon Brian. The most important thing we can do for a member of the clergy is to pray for them and offer Masses for them.
We are heading into an exciting couple of weeks here at Saint Brigid. We just finished First Communions…which were AWESOME, now for ordinations. What a blessed parish we have! Keep praying Saint Brigid! We have a lot more potential priests and deacons in our midst. When we build a culture of vocations, it’s amazing to see what happens!