29 JUNE 2008

       My friends as we are here today celebrating two of our Lords greatest apostles. It seems an appropriate occasion to speak of the history being made this weekend throughout the Diocese of Indianapolis. 25 men including myself received the Sacrament of Holy Orders by being ordained as Permanent Deacons. Through close to a year of discernment and then four years of formation we have made it to this point in our lives and in the in the history of our diocese. We are called to the Ministry of the Word, the Ministry of the Liturgy and the Ministry of Charity.

       In today’s Gospel we hear where Jesus, speaking to Peter, is setting Peter up as the head of his church. Jesus asked Peter directly “who do you say that I am?” Peter answers correctly that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus informs Peter that he did not learn this from any one man but that this was revealed to him by “my heavenly Father. So from this somewhat low key start of the church as we know it, we come to this time in the history of the church, through the successors of Peter, as the head of the church, to the ordination of 25 new apostles.

       In the first reading today we hear where Peter blindly follows an angel and escapes imprisonment and most certain death, by following the angels lead. Peter, without understanding at first, obediently follows God’s direction. It is only later that he realizes what God has done.

       In the second reading Paul sits in jail, expecting execution. When we hear this reading it sounds like a man taking stock of his life and feeling somewhat relieved that he has done well with his time on earth. The Roman historian Tacitus writes that Nero falsely accused the Christians of Rome with starting a destructive fire in the city, ordering them tortured and killed. It is probable that both Paul and Peter were martyred during this persecution around 64 AD.

       In one of his sermons Saint Augustine speaks of the name Peter that comes from Petra, the word for rock, and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from Petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ. Peter is rightly considered to be first among the apostles.

       Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one: and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed.

       And so as we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood, let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.

       There is so much more that can be said about these two Saints, but on more than one occasion I have been admonished to keep it short. For those of us who heard Father Dan preach last Sunday, understand that I heard his homily five times and he promised to keep his homilies short and he did. So I took the liberty of saving his unused minutes he saved and was hoping to use them today if needed.

       I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and prayers; it has been a truly humbling experience knowing that the students have prayed for our class daily and me by name. I also would like to thank my wife Susan for her support, because with out it I certainly would not be standing here today. I would also encourage you to pray for all the Deacons wives, I believe that there should be a special place in Heaven for these women, for all they have to give up to share their husbands with the church in such a big way.

       I would like to thank Father Dan, he has had a lot of experience breaking in new associate pastors in the past and he has used that knowledge in reining me in and telling me to go slow and not take on more than I can handle. I look forward to assisting him and ultimately Archbishop Daniel in any way they deem necessary to help fulfill their ministries.

       We recently had an associate pastor who declared there was a new sheriff in town when someone tried to park in the front yard of the rectory during our County Fare a few years ago. I guess that would make me a deputy then.

       I would also like to thank the parish staff especially Pam Gilland for their support, also Vicky for great inspirational support, and I look forward to working with Kim in the future. As I continue to work full time it will be important to stay in touch with them. I can’t finish the thanks with out also thanking my mother and father for having me and raising me in the faith that we are here sharing today. Along with my mother and father I also would like to thank the Nuns of the Sisters of Providence who all were important in raising me in the faith we share today. I also would like to acknowledge Father Knoll as an inspiration to me as a young man growing up here at St. Malachy.

       Finally I would like to thank all the members of our council of the Knights of Columbus. They have been very supportive of me since the first announcement of my acceptance in the deacon formation process. They have supplied me with the tools necessary to proceed through the four years of formation and also assisted me with the many different ritual books that will be needed as I move forward now as a Deacon within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

       It has been my pleasure to talk with many life long parishioners and hear of their stories of first’s that they have witnessed here at St. Malachy or participated in. the first Lectors, the first Eucharistic Ministers and so forth. I am pleased and honored to be the first Deacon from St. Malachy.

       As we proceed with our Liturgy this afternoon, let me encourage all of you to continue to pray for vocations and I ask that people keep their minds and hearts open to a calling. We are all called to do something, sometimes we just need to stop and listen. If you know of anyone who might be interested in looking into the priesthood, please let Father Dan or Father Bob or myself know so we can assist you in finding out if that might be the right path for you.

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