Saturday, July 10, 2010

Deacon Quan!

Three years ago in May I joined a group of fifty people, mostly from St. Peter Chanel, for a pilgrimage to Mexico.  In the group I met Quan.  He was on summer break after his first year in seminary, and was still discerning whether it was God's will for him to be a priest.  Our group visited the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a bunch of other wonderful Catholic sites, and as I had only been received into the Church the month before it was all new and thrilling to me.  One night in the beautiful town of Puebla I found myself awake while my two roommates were fast asleep, so I knelt and prayed a Rosary for Quan's vocation and for my own (I had some inkling that I might be a nun.)

I thought of that today while I watched Quan and five others be ordained deacons for the Diocese of Orange.  Lord willing they'll all be ordained priests next year.  Great is God's faithfulness; He knows the path ahead though we do not, and it's astounding to look back and see all that He's done.

It was a fine ordination Mass.  Quintilingual: I think I heard Vietnamese, Spanish, English, Korean and Latin spoken and sung.  The entrance song was "Jesus Christ, You Are My Life", which I've loved ever since I heard it in this video to which Jen once linked.  A Vietnamese song got lots of congregational participation, which wasn't surprising as four of the six ordinands were Vietnamese and it looked like lots of family had turned out.  The Holy Family Cathedral of Orange was packed to the gills (but not to the rafters.  Those rafters were really high.)

One remarkable feature of the entrance and exit processions was the thurifer swinging his censer in a full 360° circle every few steps.  He was precise about it so it didn't look like he was just messing around, but still, aren't there glowing hot coals in that thing?  Anyone ever seen that trick before?

The congregation burst into applause as the new deacons processed out, and no wonder, for they're enriching us all by giving their lives to serve God's Church.  I thought it would have been great if the applause had lasted for the long line of priests that followed behind them, but that would have worn out everyone's hands.  It reminded me of a concert the Alhambra Carmelites gave.  Mother Regina Marie introduced all the sisters in the various stages of formation: candidates in black suits, postulants in blue, novices with white veils, black-veiled sisters under temporary vows, "and then there are the fully professed sisters.  They're not as exciting as the others, but they are the tried and the true."

After Mass I joined up with Diep and Jeanne, two friends who were on that Mexico pilgrimage, and we chowed down in the fellowship hall.  I declared I liked what many of the Vietnamese women were wearing: a long dress, often in lovely sparkly colors, with a skirt slit up both sides and loose pants underneath.  "If it were in fashion I'd dress like that every day," said I.  Diep has worn such a dress, and she commented that the back part of the skirt can end up in the toilet bowl.

On a somewhat more elevated note, we worked our way over to Quan and told him how good it was to see him ordained.  He can't give priestly blessings (yet), but we huddled around while he prayed a really nice prayer for us.  We learned he'll be stationed at a parish this summer and then it's back to the Angelicum in Rome for more seminary study.  But I'm not jealous.

Now we're all supposed to pray for the new deacons that if God wills we'll see them ordained priests next year.  Ha!  You didn't know that reading this post to the end would trap you in an obligation, did you?  Well, too late now!

Update: Pictures of the event here!  I'm in one of them (along with all the rest of the congregation... good luck finding me.)


Anna said...

Woot ordinations :)

High Church Anglicans (I suppose that's Episcopelians for you) are really into fancy thurible-swinging. (I think it's distracting, and therefore Not Good, but who am I.)

If you do it without jerking and the lid is more or less stable it's not a problem, because of the centrifugal pseudoforce. Keeps things neatly in line, that does.

Lee Gilbert said...

Here is a video- the coolest video ever- that includes some interesting thurible awinging and other fancy stuff in the early minutes.

When you bring up this site, the video will start of itself. Give it a little time to get underway. The audio doesn't begin till after two screens of illegible text.

This school is run by the same order, the Priestly Society of St. Peter, that is supplying a chaplain to the Carmelites at Elysburg, PA.

Rachel Gray said...

Anna, you get cool points for remembering it's a pseudoforce, though I've never understood that-- when I'm on a merry-go-round it feels darn real to me. I didn't know that about the High Church Anglicans.

Thanks for the video, Lee! It's appropriate that it begins with chant from the Requiem Mass, because if they stop concentrating those fire-jugglers are going to need it. :) Better say it's the Fraternity of St. Peter because "Society" evokes the SSPX, and "Institute" means ICKSP, and if anyone starts yet another group of traditional priests it'll just have to be called the "Club" or something-- all the other names for a group are in use. :)

Vincenzo said...

I am praying for them.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Well, it is a good obligation, anyway.

Rachel Gray said...

Now that I'm reading your comment I'll pray for them again. :)