In a ceremony chockful of rites, postures of supplication, prayers, and song, three people were last evening ordained Catholic deacons and one raised into the priesthood.
Before a packed congregation in the St Patrick’s Cathedral at Jemmott’s Lane, Archbishop Jason Gordon presided over the ordination of Rev Dr Winston Layne to the Presbyterate, and Michael Gonsalves, Fabian Alexander, and Alphonsus Joseph to the permanent Diaconate.
“In your ordination… your promise is to serve, that you will be servants of the servants of Christ,” Archbishop Gordon told the four men.
“This is not a moment of elevation, this is a moment of deeper service. The call and your answering the call has brought you to a place where you are ready to serve the body of Christ in a deeper way; to make yourself of service to all of God’s people; to put forward before people the truth in season and out of season; and to be a tireless worker in the Kingdom of God, demonstrating by work and example what it is to participate in the life of the church.”
To the three being initiated into Deacons, he said, “Your call to the Diaconate is to join that original order of Deacons that the apostles set apart.”
Using biblical references, Archbishop Gordon said that these men will do the “waiting on the tables and the distributing of the works for the poor so that the apostles could be free to do what their vocation is in the prayer, in the preaching and the presiding.”
To Layne, Archbishop Gordon said, “To be called to the priesthood is to be called to be a consummate lover of God and God’s people.
“You have been called to feed the sheep from the table of the Lord… the table of his word, the table of his Eucharist.”
In a ceremony lasting just over an hour, the men went through rites of being called, and the presentation and examination of candidates for the two Catholic vocations. They performed prayers of consecration among a number of procedures that saw them kneeling many times and being blessed with prayers.
The Deacons at one stage, lay prostrate in the aisle of the Cathedral, and Dr Layne went through the symbolic cleansing of hands.
All four are married and have children.
Layne stated, “For me, the priesthood is a way of life. It is the best way I believe I can live out my consciousness of being, the best way I can give expression to my true self, my way of being Christian.”
Alexander stated, “My ordination is an answer to years of praying and waiting on God. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.”
Gonsalves stated, “Like my wedding vows, which I took as a serious lifetime commitment before God, the acceptance of the Sacred Order of the Diaconate will be a lifetime commitment to the service of our God and to his church.”
Joseph stated, “I always sensed that God was calling me to something more, to serve in the mission of the church in a special way… Ordination to the Diaconate is my abandonment of myself and my will to God’s call.”