Peace abounds in approach to diaconate ordination

by Deacon Jered Grossman

“I try to keep the peace of Christ in the forefront of my approach to this call of my Lord, whose peace it was that brought me to diaconate ordination, and whose peace carries me through the life of that office.” –Deacon Jered Grossman

“The Lord be with you.” “And with your spirit.” These beautifully relational words are expressed every day, through proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord. This grace-filled duty of my new office as a deacon allows me to experience the love of God through this blessed exchange. This exchange resonates throughout each day of my ministry and is a great source of peace for me through the many situations that ministry leads me to.

The days leading up to and following my ordination to the diaconate were filled with many blessings. It was a four-day, living meditation on many years working in the world, seven years of seminary, and the beautiful life I was about to enter into. The days leading up to my ordination began with Riley Durkin and me serving Mass for the bishop in the presence of the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests (a pretty great way to start!). Friday included a practice for the ordination Mass, and a holy hour with our families. Saturday was the ordination Mass.

The ordination Mass itself was a beautiful meditation on the love of the Father, lived out through the heart of his son, carried into the world by the Holy Spirit. That may sound a bit catechetical, but I truly felt the relational presence of the Most Holy Trinity throughout the Mass, from processing in and sitting with my family, through processing out as a newly ordained deacon. There are many moments I will never forget from the Mass, but one that really stands out for me is the moment Bishop Folda placed his hands on my head and prayed in silence. That was a moment of tremendous grace, and what I felt in that moment was an overwhelming sense of peace.

After the ordination on Saturday, I returned to Harvey to serve as a deacon for the Sunday Mass in my home parish of St. Cecilia’s. This was also a beautiful moment of grace for me. Preaching for the first time to people I have known my whole life was something I had meditated on for many years, and it was a tremendous joy to be able to love them through the word of God. Assisting the altar where I had watched my childhood priest, Monsignor Roman G. Neva, celebrate the Mass so many times brought with it the sense of both fulfillment and beginning. I felt like both the 46-year-old man who had entered into the office that would very soon lead to the priesthood, while at the same time, like the 10-year-old boy who had first heard the call to it. I was edified, and I was at peace.

I try to keep the peace of Christ in the forefront of my approach to this call of my Lord, whose peace it was that brought me to diaconate ordination and whose peace carries me through the life of that office. I hold on to the beautiful image of our Lord appearing to the apostles in the upper room, saying, “Peace be with you.” Of all the things he could have said in that moment, these were the words he chose. He knew the mission they were about to begin, the cost of that mission, and the importance of the peace needed to carry it out. It was his peace they needed, which would begin in their hearts and carry them even to death.

I look forward to June 6 of next year, ordination to the priesthood, and serving God’s people through that sacred office, bringing with it another beautiful exchange, “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” “And with your spirit.” The people of God will ask our Lord for peace in my heart, so that I may serve them as he would. Most Holy and Gracious God, let it be so!

Deacon Grossman is a Theology III seminarian studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md.

Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by current Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.