Deacons called to be front line of evangelization, archbishop tells newly ordained – BC Catholic

Deacons called to be front line of evangelization, archbishop tells newly ordained – BC Catholic

On December 9, Medard Kamanzi and Patrick Le were ordained deacons at the Holy Rosary Cathedral in preparation for priestly ordination next year. In his homily at the ordination Mass, Archbishop J. Michael Miller addressed the two men and the role of the deacon.

“Both ordinandi have been preparing for this day for many years, aware that Jesus chose them first before answering his call,” said the archbishop.

“Medard was formed in the archdiocesan missionary seminary Redemptoris mater and Christ the King seminary, and Patrick at the SCK since he entered minor seminary.”

Deacons Patrick Le and Medard Kamanzi

Marked by an “indelible character,” the two men “will do something radical, something countercultural, something extraordinary, something bold,” the archbishop said. “Each of them will make a solemn promise and commit themselves to celibacy forever for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, in the service of God and others.”

This commitment, he said, “is one of the most fundamental expressions of Jesus’ call to radical discipleship, who, in the words of Pope Benedict XIV, affirms that “there are people who believe in the Gospel so much that they do something about it on earth respect is irrational.”

The two men are called “to be spiritual fathers to those entrusted to their pastoral care who bear fruit in the generation through the baptism of many new sons and daughters of the faith”. In their vow of chastity, he said, “They do not consecrate themselves to bachelorhood, individualism, or a life without friends,” but “promise to surrender themselves completely and unreservedly into the hands of the Lord. Celibacy will allow them to serve the Lord with a whole heart and thereby express their devotion to God and their people.”

Deacons are called to be at the forefront of the church’s evangelizing mission, the archbishop said. “While each is called to love others as Jesus loves us, giving his life for them, his commandment makes special demands on those ordained to his ministry,” dedicating them to works of charity on behalf of the sufferings of the world .

“When it comes to ministry, no job is too small or too small for a deacon. Because our new deacons are dedicated to life and service in persona Christi Servi, “in the person of Christ the servant, . They will spur us all to live lives of greater service to others and passion for justice, responding to a world that hungers for convincing signs of God’s love and compassion.

The BC Catholic spoke to the two new deacons about their travels.

Deacon Patrick Le

By Nicholas Elbers

Reflecting on the “surreal experience” of his interim diaconate ordination, Patrick Le told The BC Catholic he feels immense importance in the new role, but also an ordinary sense of God’s presence and power.

The laying on of hands during the ceremony at the Holy Rosary Cathedral on December 9 was a profound moment for him. “It was very powerful,” said Deacon Le. “It’s quiet while your runner presses on your head. More than any part of the liturgy, it is very palpable.”

The experience after ordination is “very wonderful – the gift we receive – but it’s also very ordinary,” he said, pausing. “God is the master of understatement, just as he came at Christmas as a child.”

Archbishop Miller with Deacon Patrick Le.

The transitional diaconate is the step before the priesthood and allows men of advanced priestly discernment to better transition into the pastoral role of the priesthood.

“Before that, we were a year in seminary and then we were thrown into a parish with full responsibilities and powers, but that allows me to orient myself,” he said.

While there is usually a gradual build-up to full assignments, during his pastoral internship at St Matthew’s in Surrey, the seminarian was thrown in at the deep end when he took over the preaching while Assistant Pastor Father Raffaele Salvino was recovering from surgery.

Deacon Le says he finds writing and preaching sermons interesting.

“I enjoy preaching the sermons,” he said. “It’s a lot of work – almost like writing an assignment every week, but it’s more than that. It’s about building a bridge between life and the gospel.”

Deacon Le appreciates the way preaching reflects the priest’s overall role and how it helps him connect with the community.

“They are trying to find that particular part of Scripture that will help facilitate theosis”, the Eastern spiritual ideal in which the individual becomes one with God, he said.

The community informs how he creates his sermons, but he still sees that he has plenty of room to grow. “I’m newer than some of the new parishioners here,” he mused, adding that the parish “will take on a more meaningful role as he gets to know it better.”

As a guide for his sermon, he likes to draw on the so-called Four Pages of the Sermon, which offer a simple but effective formula:

1. Find the problem in the Scriptures – At the heart of the gospel is often suffering or trouble.

2. Connect that to the problems people have in their own lives.

3. Look for the grace given to solve the problem.

4. Relate this grace to the grace we receive in our own lives.

“They’re trying to get at people’s hearts,” he said, “it’s universal. We are all different, but our hearts are the same.”

Deacon Le has also spent time teaching the students at St. Matthew’s Elementary School.

“We visit the schools once a week to spend some time with the students,” he said. “I have a different relationship with them than their teachers. They’re usually happy to see me because I’m interrupting something they don’t enjoy, like math,” he joked.

Deacon Le said he tries to take students beyond simple catechism by helping them focus their questions on bigger and more beautiful things — a lesson that isn’t just for students.

“Sometimes we don’t ask the best questions; We sometimes miss the big picture,” he said. “It’s about showing them the reality of Christ.”

“In a way, teaching and preaching is very easy because there is one point: Christ,” he said. “But at the same time they are difficult because you have to show how Christ is there in all aspects of life.”

Deacon Medard Kamanzi

By John Schaefer

Deacon Medard Kamanzi completed the final milestone of his faith journey on December 9 when he was ordained an interim deacon.

As a step in his path to the priesthood, his journey began eight years earlier in Porto San Giorgio, Italy. Like all Redemptoris Mater seminarians, Deacon Medard did not choose to train in Vancouver. The seminarians put their names in baskets and were drawn by lot to determine where they would be sent to the seminary. Deacon Kamanzi traveled halfway around the world to the newly formed Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Vancouver.

His personal story began 28 years earlier, when he was born one of six children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a year before the Rwandan genocide. His grandparents left Rwanda as refugees during the 1959-1962 civil war. His parents returned to Rwanda in 1994, a country devastated and insecure after the genocide. The new government tried to unite the country, create a safe environment and rebuild its economy.

His father was a government official who still traveled widely and often away from home in a still dangerous country. Kamanzi’s parents’ marriage suffered and he lost his faith.

It was a life-changing team of neocatechumenal itinerant missionaries from Europe. His parents attended a series of catechesis and were touched by the preaching of the kerygma. The migrants, who still live in Africa, stayed in the Kamanzis’ home and helped his parents rediscover their faith. His family life changed when his parents placed Christ at the center of their lives.

Deacon Kamanzi experienced his own journey of faith growing up. At school, he was bullied and rejected by his classmates and teachers because of an illness that made him drool. He lost faith in himself and felt a stranger until his father invited him to join a religious community.

Archbishop Miller with Deacon Kamanzi.

He felt accepted and respected in his community. He listened to the kerygma and was able to speak honestly about his experiences without filtering what he was saying himself in order to be accepted. Little by little he came to know the love of Jesus Christ.

The next step in his journey came at age 15 at a youth conference. He felt a deep sense of gratitude to God for helping him transform his life. At the end of the pilgrimage he felt called to the priesthood and stood up when a call was made.

Over the next five years, he attended weekly professional meetings with catechists who helped him discover his vocation. He attended World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, where he met other young people who were interested in discerning priesthood vocations.

After graduating from high school, he had to choose between a university scholarship for agricultural engineering and training as a seminarian. He chose Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Goma, Congo to spend a year exploring his calling to a religious vocation.

In Porto San Giorgio he was selected for the newly formed Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Vancouver, where he stayed with a local family for six months while the seminary building was renovated.

Coming to Canada was a shock. All his education had been in French and he had never lived outside of Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While living with a family in Vancouver, he had to learn a new language, culture and food.

Six months after his arrival, his father suffered kidney failure and died in his freshman year. He returned to Rwanda for his father’s funeral.

His mother was very supportive of his calling and encouraged him to remain in Canada. Like his seminary peers, Kamanzi joined a local faith community where he met people, felt at home, and was immersed in the word of God.

An important part of the discernment and formation of seminarians is service, both in parishes and as missionaries. Kamanzi spent a year with a team evangelising in various Canadian cities such as Ottawa, Winnipeg, Fort McMurray, Calgary and Saskatoon. It was a graceful time for him to preach the good news and stay in people’s homes and feel very much like the missionaries who had come to his hometown.

After Deacon Kamanzi delivered his first sermon last weekend, he said he felt a sense of peace that God will give him the graces he needs to complete his mission, which he knows is a gift from God is.

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