This weekend we remember the baptism of Jesus. It’s the moment when He was affirmed and confirmed in His own mission as a result of His encounter with John the Baptist’s ministry. The Lord began His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit – we do the same.
As we gather in community to remember and celebrate Jesus’ baptism, all of us are offered an opportunity to reflect on our own sacramental initiation into Christ and the church. How appropriate that this weekend is also an opportunity for me and 19 classmates to reflect on the beginning of our mission as permanent deacons. We were ordained ten years ago on January 11, 2003.
For me – for all of us – as for Jesus, baptism is not an isolated moment, but the beginning of a commitment where meaning and power unfold in our lives. As many of you are aware, my life as a deacon unfolded much differently than I had imagined. After a relatively “safe and sane” five years doing my “deacon thing”, as Fr. Perry called it, we embarked, as community, on a new journey.
Much has been said and written about the new model of church that we have been living for the past four and a half years. Bishop Steinbock could not have made a better choice than the Newman Center community as a “pioneer” for the Diocese of Fresno. Since it’s founding by Fr. Sergio Negro in 1964, the Newman Center has been a testing ground for a new model of collaborative ministry in the church.
The successes we have enjoyed could not have been accomplished without a vibrant and joyful place of worship and service. Thank you for your wonderful support, concern, and love. Thank you to Fr. Negro and Fr. Perry for being my mentors and good friends. Thank you to Fr. Dave and Deacon Bill for saying “yes” to new challenges and attending to the pastoral needs of the people. Thank you to a most caring and dedicated pastoral staff.
Thank you to Luci, my wife, for being understanding and always present for me. My ten years of ministry have truly been a blessing. Thanks be to God.
Peace and love,