Gift of a Humble Husband

Gift of a Humble Husband

As I’ve mentioned in past blog entries my husband, Jerry, was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for our diocese in May 2017. He carries the title “Deacon” which is derived from the Greek, “diakonia” which means to serve.

In the Catholic Church, the deacon is called to “functions of the Word, Sacrament, and Charity” (from the USCCB). During the Mass, he is the minister of the Word and the minister of the Cup. Deacons are able to give homilies, officiate at weddings and funerals, and baptize. While these are very public functions, the ministry of Service (Charity) is one of great humility and often goes unseen.

After a deacon is ordained, the bishop gives him a formal assignment. Many are placed in their home parish or a local parish in need, and some are assigned to serve in ministries such as hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes. My husband received a 6-year assignment to one of the local Catholic nursing homes where he assists the chaplain during the week and Sunday Mass.

Because this is a Catholic facility many of our retired priests call it home. One of these priests, a monsignor, faithfully concelebrates Sunday Mass each week with the chaplain while Jerry assists. Shortly after Jerry started his assignment, Monsignor began using a walker and got around really well. But over the past few months, his health has declined – he had a bad fall, a bout of pneumonia, he is hard of hearing, and gets confused. He is now limited to a wheelchair but they have made room for him in the sanctuary.

The past 2 weeks have been particularly hard for Monsignor. Last Sunday, my heart broke as I saw a new orderly push him into the chapel and left him next to a pew instead of wheeling him into the sacristy to prepare for Mass. This is where I saw the true humility and compassion of Christ in my husband.

As Jerry was preparing the altar for Mass he noticed Monsignor sitting alone. I watched him as he respectfully walked to the elderly priest and ask if he wanted to concelebrate Mass. I overheard Monsignor tell him that he wasn’t sure if the chaplain would invite him. Jerry disappeared into the sacristy and came back with a stole and chasuble. He gently vested Monsignor and wheeled him next to the presider’s chair.

That day I saw the Hands of Jesus lovingly prepare one of His beloved priests to celebrate our greatest prayer.

This is the heart of the diaconate.

This is the heart of Christ.

Pray for me as I pray for you.

PS: Can you tell I’m proud of my husband?

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