My good friend and fellow Deacon Candidate Dennis Kelley put his own unique spin on Sunday’s event:
On Sunday, December 6, twenty-four men and I were called by Archbishop Alex J. Brunett to Candidacy for the Diaconate in the Seattle Archdiocese of the Catholic Church. In the Rite of Candidacy, the Church accepts our offering, calls us to a three-year formation program and officially recognizes us as candidates for the diaconate.
We were each called forward by our full baptismal name, answered “Present,” walked to the altar, bowed, and took our place in front of the Archbishop. The Rite of Candidacy then was conferred. The experience was awe inspiring and humbling. I was so nervous that when I shook the hand of the spouse of one of my candidate brothers after the Rite I realized my hands were drenched in sweat.
Mary and I were joined by our youngest son Connor (oldest son Sean is a freshman in college and was unable to join us due to finals) and many family and friends. The biggest surprise came as I approached St. James Cathedral. I heard the voice of my mother Suzanne Arango call my name. But how could that be? She lives in Arizona this time of year. But off came her stocking cap and there she was. I was overjoyed by her surprise visit to town. Also there were my brother Dan Kelly and his daughters Katey and Sara, my uncle and aunt Glen and Susan Kelly who drove up from Waldport, Oregon, their son and my cousin Keven Kelly and his four-year-old son Finn. Even my mom’s best friend Marie Louise Wahlstrom, who has been close to our family for over 35 years, came.
Also in attendance, was the one-time Bellevue High School teacher who introduced me to the world of radio Bill Poirier and his wife Missy, my favorite WSU broadcasting professor Glenn Johnson who is also the Mayor of Pullman, fellow WSU Murrow College Professional Advisory Board colleague Joyce Szymanski, friends from work Paul Tosch and his wife Stacey, friends from church Randele and David Cross and their five beautiful children, John Olson, Peter and Ruth Wolff, our close friends Gary and Leita Garside, and buddies Peter Shmock and N.Y. Vinnie Richichi. The mother of friend Shannon Drayer delivered a card from her daughter who was at the Winter Meetings for Major League Baseball covering the Mariners, but sent her mom to represent her. Some in attendance are Catholic. Others are not. All are very dear for being a part of this special day. Words cannot express my deep gratitude for their presence.
My candidate brothers and I have been in formation since June 2008. It started with an Inquiry period (during the summer of 2008) and a full year of Aspirancy studies (September 2008 to June 2009). The vetting process is thorough.
Our intellectual formation happens over a weekend once a month and features classes taught by professors from Seattle University, University of Portland and Pacific Lutheran University. We have 300-500 pages of reading each month, numerous papers and other homework.
Our spiritual formation is placed in the hands of our own personal Spiritual Director, Pastoral Supervisor and others. Our pastoral formation happens in our parishes and by serving in ministerial internships. This year I am honored to be placed with the L’Arche Community on Capitol Hill and work weekly with “core members” who deal with mental disabilities and assistants who make up this unique community. It is my sanctuary from the chaos of being a member of the news media in these crazy times and my work managing KOMO Newsradio.
The formation process as a Candidate will last for three more years. With God’s good graces, formation will culminate in ordination as a Deacon in the Catholic Church in December of 2012. If you are so inclined, please keep Mary, my family and me in your prayers.
Advent Peace & Blessings…
December 09 2009 | celebrations and formation | 2 Comments »
Greetings and Blessings!
I wanted to blog something in light of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, about this last Sunday’s event regarding the spiritual journey I’m on. I want to look back years from now, and remember the warmth and closeness I experienced, as I shared this moment with my friends and family. It was so cool to hear each of the names called, and the returned, “present” before the Archbishop of Seattle. I felt so incredibly blessed to be in their company. In many ways, we fall under the grace of our Blessed Mother’s “fiat” as it was announced to her she would be with child, our Lord Jesus.
The Rite, while really not one at all, is meant to signify our own “fiat,” resolution and commitment to undergo and complete our formation. Our own answer to God’s call. Those two words, are significant to me, because we shouldn’t ask for admittance, if we are not serious about getting it done. The Admittance is really a canonical procedure. Canon Law says that we must request, in writing to be admitted to Candidacy. Once the Bishop reads the letter, he decides if we are admitted and the Archdiocese notifies the Aspirant he’s been accepted.
So what’s up with that?
Well, First. The classes get tougher as the expectation rises. Second, we are now public with our intentions, so the public will hold us accountable and in many ways, help to form and shape us as we grow in our ministry. And third, we have both jobs and volunteer community ministry, and we have to balance these with our family responsibilities. Sometimes, it can be a real bear. Getting class assignments done, theological reflections, outside ministry are just a few of the many things a person can be expected to deal with and is why they term it “rigors of formation” and further asks us if are we resolved to undergo and complete them.
I was glad for this brief liturgy and public proclamation. It made it more real than just mailing a letter. It makes us accountable and it acknowledges what we’ve accomplished thus far, and what we’ll need to in the future. It also imparts a blessing from the Archbishop to “complete the works that God has begun in us…”
Many thanks to those at the Archdioceses, our family and friends for taking the time to brave the cold to support our vocational call. My own family being there, coupled with the family and friends of my fellow candidates, really inspired me to “take it to the next level” in terms of my drive and focus.
I give thanks to our Heavenly Father through His Beloved Son for sending his spirit to form and guide us on this path. We’ve truly been Graced with his blessings.
Peace and Blessings,
December 09 2009 | canon law and celebrations | No Comments »
Today’s the day. At 2pm, we will proceed through the Rite of Candidacy and officially be “Candidates.” Please keep the Deacon Class of 2012 for the Archdiocese of Seattle in your prayers.
December 06 2009 | celebrations and formation and prayer request | No Comments »
Once again, Advent is upon us. A time of reflection and preparation. I was in a new liturgical role for this 1st Sunday of Advent, which in fact, begins a new liturgical year. I was a Lector. The readings start with a bold statement by the Lord God, letting us know something big would happen to set things straight. A very special person would come to the people of Israel who would do just that.
St. Paul in the second reading, exhorts in a prayerful way, for people to continue to act in the manner he had taught them–not that they were not doing so already–but exhorting them to do so even more. St. Luke in our Gospel reading paints a picture of turbulent cosmic action, where the Lord’s return will be so spectacular, that people would literally be scared to death. So, we must be vigilant, not taken off guard, and we must await anxiously for this day to come. We should not be afraid, but look upon this moment with longing and with joyfulness.
So, we kick off the new liturgical year, and once again, begin the telling our story of salvation history. And by doing so, we prepare ourselves in mind and spirit, for the coming of the Lord Jesus, into our hearts and in human history.
May yours be a blessed journey!
November 30 2009 | celebrations and liturgy | 1 Comment »
Last night, as we were celebrating the vigil of Thanksgiving, I was reminded that we are people of constant thanksgiving. We give thanks each and every time we come to church, thankful and ever mindful of our manifold blessings.
There are many moments where my life’s been touched by something I’ve learned, or someone I’ve met. These experiences celebrate the uniqueness of every individual, yet also celebrate our commonality. I feel blessed to be able to learn from such committed professors and study with such fine individuals who both bring their God-given gifts to bear in ministry. In commitment to formation and service. Service has been the biggest change in my life. To think I would get to spend time like this with others, would have been unthinkable a year or more ago. But, Love is patient and kind.
I am also thankful for my family, who has always loved and supported me through tough times. I now get to spend time with my younger brother and sister, both nurses, and get to witness their genuine love and care for the sick. It fills me with such pride to have watched them called into their vocations, being formed and commissioned to carry out that service to their brothers and sisters in need. Something I share in common. Both of them have affirmed my own vocational call–to minister to these same people in their spiritual need–by their reciprocal love and support. I find it a blessing that we all work together at the same hospital, in ways each are affected by the movement of their heart.
In these ways, I find myself ever thankful, not just one time of year, but always. In enjoying the gifts God’s graced us with, and having the sense to be grateful for them.
Why? Because I find myself acting in opposite to those healed lepers in the gospel reading last night. You know, the ones that Jesus heals and who had failed to come and offer any thanks for the healing. Lately I feel much like the one who did. I’ve learned, while Jesus acknowledges the others absence, he doesn’t dwell on it, rather, he chooses to spend time and enjoyment with the one that did. A good lesson for me to remember, God does notice the lack of acknowledgment, but rather dwelling on those that don’t–rejoices with those of us that do.
God bless you all.
November 26 2009 | celebrations | No Comments »
Several years ago, my wife, daughter and I took a course hosted by the Tacoma Mountaineers titled, “Mountain Oriented First Aid” or “MOFA” for short. In this course, we learned to provide First Aid to victims of injuries sustained in mountaineering. It was a course that many in the medical field had difficulty with. The reason is, you must treat the patient only with those items in their backpack and they are used to treating in a clinical environment with rooms full of equipment and supplies.
One of the highlights was treating and providing comfort care to the unconscious patient. The cardinal rule was, treat them as you would the conscious.
In a seminar I attended on the final rights of the dying, it was stated that the last thing to cease, was the hearing. I don’t know about you, but I would be mortified if the last thing my loved one heard was some flippant comment about them by me. So please, treat them as you would those that are present.
My point is that often, medical people get it wrong, make mistakes in diagnosing because they are human.
A remarkable story:
A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time. Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them – but could make no sound.’I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,’ said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.
I cannot imagine what that is like, to be aware and trying to communicate and no one can hear. I think it’s remarkable that he has learned to communicate with his family and friends through a computer.
‘I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and enjoy my life now that people know I am not dead.’
I think that’s great.
November 24 2009 | inspiration and pro-life and respect life | No Comments »
Saturday evening, we as a group were notified by the Vicar for Clergy, that Archbishop Brunett has received and accepted all of our petitions for Candidacy. This is an important step for us on our journey toward ordination as a Roman Catholic Deacon.
As a recap, last year was termed, our Aspirancy year. Not like aspirin, but as to aspire or aspiring. We are aspiring to become Deacons. The main focus in Aspirancy, was on discernment for Candidacy. It’s a big decision. Not only for us, but for our wives, children and extended family. Lots to consider, ranging from our jobs up through our spirituality. It was exciting not only to get to know one another as classmates, but ourselves as well. Aspirancy, was a path in itself, to which we were called by the Archbishop. He called, we responded.
Last July, after June Synthesis weekend, we waited to hear if we would be accepted into Candidacy. Everything we did was reviewed. This is because we have to be presented by the Church, that is, the body of Christ. It is our church that says, yes, they are qualified, and ready. It was a very anxious time for us, as some of our classmates were not selected. I would not want that job of evaluating and selection. It is hard and painful for all involved.
Selection is one thing, but we must petition in writing after selection to continue.
Here, we petitioned to take the next path, Candidacy. The Archbishop heard and responded by accepting our petitions. We are making a free-will choice to undergo a more intensive part of formation. It will raise the bar so-to-speak to the next level, challenging us to the task of even more discernment and balance of our lives.
The Rite of Candidacy is that formal presentation of ourselves to the Bishop, we will make both our intention and presence known and are resolved to undergo formation, and in turn be formally received, welcomed and blessed for this next part of the journey. I am very excited. A little nervous, but anxious to see what God has in store for me next. I know my brothers feel the same. Our lives will not be the same, because we are truly becoming public witnesses and ministers. I pray for God’s grace to be upon us all.
At this stage, I think it necessary to state the purpose of my blog. It is to chronicle my journey toward the Diaconate. To share with friends and family or whoever may find it interesting this journey I’m on.
If you have any interest in witnessing the Rite of Candidacy, it will be held at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, WA on December 6th, 2009 at 2pm and all are welcome.
November 23 2009 | celebrations and formation | 4 Comments »
Yesterday’s celebration of the Feast of Christ the King reminded me of the often forgotten purpose of us as Christians. That is, we must always and everywhere work for the coming of His Kingdom.
Isn’t that what we pray for in the Lord’s prayer? Is it what we believe?
“Come, let us worship Jesus Christ, the King of kings.”
Colossians reminds us in our reading for mid morning prayer:
“We thank the Father who has made it possible for us to share in the saints’ inheritance of light. He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves.”
And again the same letter speaks to us again in the noon time reading:
“All things were created through him and for him. Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Now the Church is his body, he is its head. As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way.”
Finally, in the reading for afternoon prayer, Colossians says:
“God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.”
I was reminded that the ways we work for this Kingdom, is often in conflict with the world around us. But that conflict doesn’t have to always be in shouting matches or protest. In fact, often, the best witness of this Kingdom, is going about in simple, quiet resolve performing faithful and faith-filled service to others.
Think that don’t make a difference? Sometimes, I’m tempted to think so.
However, gentle reminders to the effectiveness of quiet, patient resolve surface.
Yesterday, while on our monthly formation weekend, we were told of someone who wrote a letter to the Archdiocese, sharing their experience with a hospital chaplain–who is in our the formation class–that witnessed in the manner I just described. This person writing, who hadn’t had “any” good experiences with chaplains in the past, was overwhelmed with the patience and kindness this chaplain had demonstrated.
Get the picture?
Overwhelmed with patience and kindness. I was overwhelmed by the story myself, because that is my ministry. And this person, whoever they may be, has lived the image of bringing the Kingdom of Christ–to the ones needing it the most. It also spoke to me about how the Grace of God, was working within that person’s life. Which was something else we touched on this weekend. Cooperation with grace. Grace is a gift. It is much like prayer, always initiated by God. We can only respond to grace. Grace enables us to love without counting the cost. Enables us to respond with patience and kindness, enables us to act apart from our own desires.
All this brought two important questions to my mind,
What are you doing to bring about his Kingdom?
How will you answer, “Who do you say that I am?”
I know my answer.
November 23 2009 | celebrations and formation and ministry | No Comments »
My last posting was on a seminar hosted by the Seattle Archdioceses, which provided some much needed training in this area. Almost 2 weeks ago, my supervisor at the hospital asked me to attend another, hosted by the Hospice of Kitsap county. It was about the care of the dying, and respecting/fulfilling final wishes. This was another stellar class! It helped to prepare me–for what I think is–God’s plan for me. Helping patients and their families with this difficult moment, which is both an honor and blessing.
Both educational events, helped me to handle the pastoral care needs of this last Tuesday at the hospital. With this training, I was able provide this much needed pastoral care for this patient and his family. If anyone would’ve told me this as little as a year ago, that I would be doing work like this , I would have promptly told them they were nuts. No way. I just did envision it.
But! The miracle I am witnessing in my life, is due to the kind of formation I am receiving, as I approach the possibility of becoming a Roman Catholic Deacon. I am learning of so many gifts I have been given that are buried deep within me–and this is changing my life.
Serving God in this way feels good and is right where I want to be.
If you ever feel the slightest bit inclined toward service, follow it. It is God who is calling you into relationship.
Peace to all.
November 19 2009 | formation | No Comments »
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit in on seminar put on by the Sacred Art of Living Center of Bend, Oregon. I have to say, that was one unique experience in terms of the historicity of this ancient art called “Anamcara”. I was interested in attending because of my ministry and in light of the recent passage of i1000 here in Washington related to Death with Dignity movement. While mentioned briefly, the context of this seminar focused on care of the sick and dying, particularly hospice care in the last moments of life.
I was surprised at the emphasis on “healing the healer” to some degree, but it made perfect sense. You can’t help anyone else, unless you are whole yourself.
This Art of Dying streams from different points in the world and their cultures, but is surprisingly uniform. We were directed to one form streaming from the Celtic culture with chants and music that were just beautiful.
All in all, I think I learned a few things and became much more aware of my own feelings toward this perfectly natural part of life.
You can learn more about this program by clicking on the link provided above.
October 17 2009 | random thoughts | No Comments »