Today is Ascension Thursday, and it has been nearly a week since my ordination to the diaconate last Saturday in Toronto. For me, the days before and after the event were both joyful and exhausting, offering a lot of consolation but also offering a lot in general - constant activity with precious little opportunity for rest or introspection. I'm finally getting some opportunity to rest now as I spend a few days at home with my family in Massachusetts, but even now there is work to do: I will be serving as a deacon and preaching at my childhood parish this weekend, so over the next couple of days I'll be attempting to fine-tune my homily. For those who may want a glimpse of the ordination, I can offer the above photograph of an important moment in the ordination rite, when the ordaining bishop (in this case, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa) presents the newly-ordained deacon (in this case, me) with the Book of Gospels. For a few more images and for more information on the event and the other ordinandi, take a look at the website of the Jesuits in English Canada.
For another look at the ordination weekend, here is an image of me at my first Sunday liturgy as a deacon. For at least the last couple years, I've been looking forward to serving my first Sunday as a deacon at St. Elias Church in Brampton, Ontario - and I did so this week, not in the beautiful temple that burned to the ground two weeks before Pascha, but in the high school atrium where the parish has gathered most Sundays since then; thus I chanted my first diaconal litany in a high school setting replete with athletic trophies and a poster advertising prom tickets ("Go get 'em! $85"). All things considered, there is nowhere I would rather have been for my first full liturgy as a deacon than in that atrium with the parishioners of St. Elias, and, with God's help and grace, I hope to celebrate the Divine Liturgy as a newly-ordained priest with the same community.
Please pray for me and for my fellow recent ordinandi as we exercise our new ministries. In this season of ordinations, I hope that you will also join me in praying for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. AMDG.