Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley recently ordained a man to the diaconate, as he continues a particularly long journey to the priesthood. He offered some important thoughts on the diaconate:
Tom Olson reached a milestone in his 11-year journey toward the priesthood, July 25, when Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley ordained the 35-year-old to the diaconate for the Archdiocese of Boston at St. Columbkille Parish… …”Jesus comes as the one who serves, the suffering servant who is meek and humble of heart. He wants his followers to have the same spirit of service and humility,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his homily at the ordination. One of three ordained ministries in the Church — deacon, priest and bishop — the deacon, from the Greek “diakonos,” means servant or minister. “Deacon is a Greek word. It doesn’t mean very important holy man, it doesn’t mean big shot, or Church leader, or Lord High Executioner, it means servant,” the cardinal said. “I can only speculate as to why the Church has maintained the practice of ordaining men deacons before ordaining them priests. The Church could ordain them priests without first ordaining a man a deacon but probably the reason is to impress on us that ministry is above all service, humble service of the Lord and of His Church,” the cardinal said. He reminded Olson to keep his eye fixed on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as the heart of his ministry. …The cardinal also touched on elements of the ordination rite that took place after the homily. He called the stole Olson received a symbol of service like a towel shared by Jesus with the deacon. “The greatest privilege we receive is the towel that Jesus entrusts to us to wash the feet of those we are called to love and to serve. Be a deacon — a good and faithful servant,” the cardinal said.