26th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

On Saturday 10 October 2015, Dr. Clark Brittain will be ordained deacon here at St. Mary’s. Clark is a member of the Community of St. Anselm’s and is being ordained for service in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the jurisdiction for Anglicans who have been received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Dr. Brittain did his undergraduate work at Furman University, holds three Master’s Degrees, and earned his doctorate at the University of Virginia. Please join us at 11 am on Saturday 10 October for the diaconal ordination of Clark Brittain, and look for Deacon Brittain to assist in the sacred liturgy and be involved in the life of St. Anselm’s and St. Mary’s in a variety of ways.

Our three other candidates for the diaconate are nearly at the end of their long years of preparation. Nestor Acosta, Joe Sanfilippo, and Tom Whalen are part of a very large class of men from all over the diocese, and because of the number of candidates, their class will have two ordinations. On Saturday 30 January 2016, the first group of men will be ordained to the diaconate at Holy Spirit, Johns Island, and on Saturday 6 February 2016, the second group will be ordained at St. Mary Magdalene, Simpsonville. All of these men (and some of their wives!) have dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to prepare for this ministry in the Church, and we will be blessed to have the service of our new deacons just before Lent begins next February.

The institution of the diaconate is described in Chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles, when seven chosen men received from the Apostles the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit for service in the Church. Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of Acts go on to tell of the extraordinary service of Deacon Stephen, who is murdered at the feet of Saul of Tarsus, thus becoming the first martyr of the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The diaconate is the first of the three degrees of the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate or the Order of Deacons, presbyterate or the Order of Priests, and episcopate or the Order of Bishops. All men who are ordained to the presbyterate are first ordained to the diaconate, but some men are ordained to the diaconate without any intention of later becoming priests. These men are called permanent deacons to distinguish them from transitional deacons who are preparing for priestly ministry. But whether ordained to the transitional or permanent diaconate, all deacons are clerics who are ordained to the ministry of Word, sacrament and charity and who receive an appointment from the bishop to serve in the Church. Please pray for these four men in our community who will soon receive the imposition of hands and prayer of consecration from a successor of the Apostles to spend the rest of their lives in the service of the Lord Jesus.

Father Newman