In a little over four hours from now I will be leaving for another deaconate formation weekend, the second of our classes on the Synoptic Gospels. I do so with something approaching mixed emotions, firstly because the end of our classes will apparently not mean the end of class work (it appears that we will have at least one more paper to write, but that's okay, it goes with the territory), but moreso because I found last year entering into the summer recess that I missed many of my Aspirant brethren tremendously. I think that a bond has formed between many of us from all over the diocese, and certainly between myself and the other two Aspirants in my deanery, Steve Helmbrecht and Don Griffith. I find that I look forward with a great deal of anticipation each month to our class sessions and meetings as much for the communio and (sometimes very deep) discussions we have outside of class as for the learning I get in the classroom. It is wonderful to be among men who love the Lord and the Church as much as you do, and who aspire to devote their lives more fully to the service of God. There are times when the joy seems infectious when we are together.
It is also interesting to note how close we seem to have become to many of the hotel staff. Last month we learned of the departure from the staff of the dear lady who has taken care of us from the beginning of our journey together. I cannot speak to the feelings of the others in the class regarding this development, but I was very sorry to hear of it. She remembered all of us by name and took such care to see to it that our needs were met. I have always gotten the same accessible room on the first floor because she saw to it, and I've always gotten an automated e-mail, usually a couple of days before we were due to be there, letting me know that my room would be ready. I noted that this month I have not received such an e-mail, and I told Nicole that I hope that I have a room!
This month I will submit the letters from Nicole and from myself requesting that Bishop Stika admit me to candidacy for Holy Orders, which if he does so, will happen in October. My mentor told me that it was his experience that the men who make it to candidacy together will likely be ordained together, so it is now that I will ask for everyone's prayers for my own continued discernment, for my growth in charity, and that the Holy Spirit will guide me and conform me into what God would want me to be, and that hopefully when others see me, they will come to see Christ in me.
On this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray with me the Litany of the Sacred Heart for all of our Aspirant class, for all of the Deacons of our Diocese, for Father Christopher Manning, our newly- ordained priest, for all of our seminarians, priests, religious, and those who spend their lives in God's service.