Serving this summer at the Church of the Holy Family was the best summer I’ve ever had. After diaconate ordination in May and returning to school for about 3 weeks, I came home and then started serving at Holy Family in Sewell. As a deacon, I was able to do two specific things for the first time: preach and baptize. It was an incredible privilege and humbling to do both. After seven years of being in the seminary this summer of diaconate was a taste of what is to come. I saw the fruits of the years of learning, praying, and maturing so to serve the Church and her members.
At the end of the Gospels we hear Christ instructing His Apostles to go and baptize. Jesus had risen from the dead, and wanted all nations and people to receive the Holy Spirit so to live in union with God. Jesus was emphatic and serious in this proclamation to baptize. So, as a Church we baptize children (and even adults) so they become God’s adopted sons and daughters. We belong to God and receive His very life within us. This is one of the beautiful parts of a vocation to the priesthood.
St. Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans:
“And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?… So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:15,17)
To preach is a grave responsibility to pass on the word of Christ which liberates and calls humans to holiness. The Scriptures are consoling, powerful, and wise, but only if they are understood by the hearer. Thus, this is the role of the preacher, especially in the context of Mass. I loved preaching, and felt fairly prepared by the past two years of practicing in the seminary. How beautiful to allow Christ’s Word to touch and transform the human heart that we might grow in our relationship with the Lord. I thank the Holy Spirit for so much help in this area during the summer months!
Preaching and administering the sacraments like Baptism are part of why I cannot wait to become a priest. They were something of what attracted me to enter the seminary in the first place. While in the seminary, I developed a greater understanding of what they are all about. Are you attracted to a life of faithful service out of a love for Jesus? Perhaps Jesus is calling you to be a priest. He calls men who are imperfect preachers and baptizers to serve, to love, and to care for other imperfect people in need of a perfect Savior.