Seminarian David Mees ordained a deacon at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University

By Mary Powers

On Saturday, September 9, the main chapel at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University was filled with bright morning light and friends and family who had gathered to support San Francisco seminarian David Mees as Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone ordained Mees as a transitional deacon, bringing him one step closer to priestly ordination.

During the Mass, Deacon Mees joined the Archbishop at the altar to assist with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The ceremony of ordination to the transitional diaconate takes place during Mass after the homily. The candidate is presented to the ordaining bishop and vows to remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom of God. The candidate resolves to maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer and celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours for the Church and the world. He also resolves to respect and obey the bishop and his successors.

The candidate then lies prostrate as the faithful pray the Litany of Saints, symbolizing that the entire communion of saints is praying for the candidate upon their ordination. Then the bishop  lays his hands on the candidate and prays over him.

After the newly ordained deacon vests for the first time, he is handed the Gospels to proclaim the Good News. The bishop directs the deacon saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone spoke on the role of the deacon, specifically the temporal and spiritual administration of the Church as well as the duty to evangelize and preach the Gospel. The Archbishop encouraged Deacon Mees to maintain a deep prayer life from which springs the zeal needed to serve the people of God.

“Remember, then, David, that all of your work as an ordained minister – now as a deacon and eventually, God willing, as a priest – must spring from your identity to Christ.  And just how does the man of God achieve this?  Pope Benedict answers this question: ‘Union with Christ, to be cultivated through prayer, sacramental life and in particular, Eucharistic adoration, is of the greatest importance to your ministry, if it is truly to testify to God’s love.’[1] In a world absorbed by all that is material, a world obsessed by the pursuit of pleasure, power and riches, you must be perfectly identified to Christ, so that the people whom Christ will entrust to your pastoral care will see in you something different from the usual, a better way, a glimpse into the transcendent, a glimpse into the face of Christ.”

The Archdiocese joins in prayer for Deacon Mees as he begins his new ministry and prepares for presbyteral ordination.

Photos: Ramón Camacho