Studying in Rome at the heart of the Church is a great privilege and an unparalleled opportunity for learning and for imbibing the many cultures of the worldwide body of believers.
Being ordained in Rome at one of the four major basilicas in the company of family and friends, and by our own bishop, seems like an embarrassment of riches.
The day itself was unlike any other, when by the laying on of the Bishop’s hands and through the sacramental encounter with Christ we receive admission to the order of deacons and so become servants of the people. It is the pinnacle of the first three years of our formation and what a truly marvellous and blessed day it was.
The presence of Bishop Alan as main celebrant was enhanced by the presence of diocesan chancellor Monsignor Eugene Harkness, vicar general Fr David Bagstaff, vocations director Fr Pat Cleary and many other lay people and clergy from East Anglia, along with the formation staff, our families and friends.
The Bishop’s laying on of hands is followed by the prayer of consecration, investiture in the deacon’s clothing of stole and dalmatic and the presentation of the Book of the Gospels as a sign of the diaconal duties of preaching and alignment to Christian truth.
The Eucharist is then celebrated, with the newly ordained fulfilling the liturgical roles appropriate to deacons.
But for me the most profound moment was when all 11 of us prostrated ourselves before the altar in anticipation of the ordination rite – it was truly humbling and beautiful, and a reminder of the great power and the great love of God.
Pictured above Bishop Alan outside St Paul’s Basilica in Rome with the three newly-ordained deacons, from the left, Mike Brookes, Alan Hodgson and Paul Spellman.
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