I have to say that as the whole application process continues it is almost coming full circle. On recepit of the letter which I received informing me about my successful interview, I was directed to write to the Bishop of the Diocese, the Most Reverend James Moriarty, seeking entry to the propedeutic year which will begin in September coming. I did so in a very brief manner simply asking for entry to the first year of the programme of formation. Only last week, I received a reply from him informing me that he has accepted my application to enter the propedeutic year and to go forward with his blessing. It was so wonderful to know that he has told us and blessed us to "Put out into the deep."
I am now more confident than I have ever been about the whole process and at the same time more overwhelmed than ever simply becuase that this is not my choice but Gods. Each and every time I hear a scripture reading that involves the call of God I am deeply moved to the core of my being as I begin to realise that I am living out this call, this unique and individual call, as history progresses. Surely I felt the same way about my call to Marriage? Yes! but in a much less intense way. There again I was 15 years younger and far less spiritually developed than I am today. Experience has brought me along in leaps and bounds. I smile to myself when I realise that the call to Diaconate is a most unusual call as it is God who calls and the wife who decides how to answer!! So the application to the Diaconate has really shown that the Church sees myself and my wife as one who make a decision on this way forward together. It is certainly not like making a decision to join the local golf club or leisure centre, as that is something I feel I could easily make myself without any consultation to the better half even though it will be demanding on our time together! I just hope when the time comes Holy Mother Church will remember that I am family if I have to miss a weekend of two due to family circumstances! I know she will ;)
My marriage is at the heart of this desire to serve and this desire to be at the heart of the Church. I am so aware of how all in my family are involved in the decision making process. Having been married for 15 years now, not only has my love for my wife and the children that God has chosen to send us flourished, but it has developed and been sustained through the many trials that many couples our age have not yet endured and hopefully will never endure. I was very much under the impression that after Marriage my attention and direction would be channelled towards my wife, my career and my fatherhood and that my love for the Church would diminish somewhat and my interest in being an active Catholic would take second perhaps third place in the order of things. This did not happen. If anything my vocation to Marriage intensified my love for the Church as I began to realise just how much I depend on Her for the wisdom and the grace to be a good husband and father, neighour and friend, teacher and friend. Thanks to my marriage by the grace of God, I attend daily Mass, pray and confess regularly and strive to develop my spiritual life on a serious level. Of course I see these as personal pre-cursors to the call I am now answering as they were done simply out of a love for God and in petition for many graces and belssings on our family. If God wants to call you to the Diaconate, He will ensure that the love you share in your family will form you and prepare you for the day when the door to Ordained Ministry is opened to you.
Anyway, I digress! At this moment in time, I have just finished filling in a seven page form which aims to gather all the information they need about me for the Diocesean files. Most of what I have filled in is simply more detailed information on what was on my CV. Along with that form was a structure on the year ahead laying out the formation weekends that will take place. All that is revealed on this document are the dates of the gaterings which will be held in Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords Co. Dublin. There are five to be completed one in each of October, November, January, February, March. They will appear on the calendar below nearer to the time along with the details of the courses to be studied during these weekends.
In a few weeks time, I have to go and meet my Parish Priest in order to introduce myself to and familarise myself with him since he is new to the Parish. I will of course be offering my services to the Parish through him if he has need of a body in any particular area.
More details later.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!