Diaconal Ordination of Scott Kady
St. Ignatius Church, Hickory
Aug. 8, 2020
It is a special pleasure to ordain Scott Kady to the diaconate here at St. Ignatius Parish where much of his pastoral formation has taken place.
I want to thank, you, Monsignor Barker for so warmly welcoming us to St. Ignatius, and more than that, to thank you for the example of priestly dedication and love that you shared with Scott during the course of his priestly formation.
I also want to say a special word of appreciation to you, Monsignor (James) Hannon. When you were pastor of St. Peter’s in Westernport, Scott’s home parish, you encouraged him to be open to the possibility of a priestly vocation,
and you have continued to encourage him through the years. It is fitting that, today, you will vest Scott in his stole and dalmatic.
In God’s Providence, many others have helped Scott get to this point in his life: the excellent work of the formation team at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore; the dedicated efforts of the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore; the support of family members, friends, and parishioners; and the encouragement and friendship of his fellow seminarians. To all of you, my warmest thanks!
And, Scott, I want to thank you for your responsiveness to a vocation that you embraced with the wisdom that only experience can bring, but also with the a joy and enthusiasm characteristic of the young.
On the cusp of your diaconal ordination, let us thank Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who led you along life’s highways and byways to this first degree of Holy Orders, and, God willing, next year to priestly ordination. In this moment of joy, let us listen to what the Good Shepherd is saying to us in the Scriptures just proclaimed. How does God’s Word illuminate the threefold diaconal ministry to which you are called: a ministry of Word, Sacrament and Charity?
Ministry of the Word
Let us begin with the ministry of the Word.
As a deacon, you will proclaim the Gospel at Mass and at sacramental celebrations. You will preach homilies on Sundays, weekdays and special occasions. And give voice to the needs of God’s People and the world in the Prayer of the Faithful. You will share God’s Word with young people preparing to receive the sacraments, with couples preparing to be married, with parents whose children are to be baptized, and with those who are preparing to enter the Church through the Easter sacraments.
Besides all this, you will find yourself sharing God’s Word informally, sometimes in casual conversation, or at a dinner table or on social occasions. You may also find yourself sharing God’s Word via the social media.
In all these ways you will exercise the ministry of the Word, a ministry that is conferred on you today through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Embrace this ministry with fidelity and joy. Fidelity and joy mean, first of all, welcoming God’s Word into your own heart, day after day, morning after morning, in prayerful meditation, allowing that Word to resonate in your soul and thus to transform your life.
This is how you will verify the Word you proclaim, preach, and share: by your joy, virtue and unfailing pastoral love, even in the most trying circumstances.
As the Word of God overtakes your life, you will not be able to keep it to yourself. Rather, like the seventy-two disciples whom Jesus appointed, you will find yourself going forth to proclaim God’s Word to others. In other words, you will dedicate yourself to the Church’s mission of evangelization. This includes not only those who are inclined to accept the Gospel message, but also those who seem to have hardened their hearts against it.
To this task, you are not to bring all kinds of props and creature comforts. Rather, in simplicity of life, in chaste, single-hearted love, and in communion with me, your bishop, you are to bear witness to the wisdom of the Cross,
sharing not your own word but the Lord’s, not your own wisdom, but his. In this way you will go out and meet people where they are but, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will bring them home to God.
The Ministry of the Altar
A second dimension of the diaconate is ministry at the altar. You will assist in the preparing of the altar for the celebration of Holy Mass; you will serve as an ordinary minister of Holy Communion; you will baptize; you will preside at celebrations of Holy Matrimony, and at the public celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgies of the Word.
In so doing, you are embracing a ministry that has roots that reach back to the Covenant God made with the people of Israel. In a certain sense, deacons are the successors to the Levites whom the Lord presented to Aaron and his sons to assist in Israel’s worship. Just as the Levites were charged to take care of the furnishings of the Lord’s sanctuary, so too you are charged, as a deacon, to assist in the Church’s sacramental life with a joyful and holy reverence, handling holy things in a holy manner.
Fulfill this dimension of your diaconal ministry in a spirit of humble and loving service. Fulfill it with the joyful reverence of one who is deeply conscious of participating in a reality that transcends any earthly pleasure, beauty or honor, for it is indeed a foretaste of the great liturgy of heaven.
Ministry of Charity
And yet, as St. John Chrysostom so memorably asked, “Of what use is it to weigh down Christ’s table with golden cups, when he himself is dying of hunger? … What is the use of providing the table with cloths woven of gold thread
and not providing Christ with the clothes he needs?”
Thus, the deacon’s ministry of Word and Sacrament lead, inexorably, to charity, to the reverent care of Christ’s Body in the persons of the poor and vulnerable.
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see how the community nominated and the Apostles appointed
“seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom.”
The task for which they were dedicated was the daily distribution of food, a task which, over time, expanded into a host of charitable ministries that take their cue from the Lord’s words in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger.
There is no substitute for a ministry of charity that is “hands on” – and it must signal that, as a priest, you will continue to love the poor and in some way serve them personally, not just programmatically.
As you enter upon diaconal ordination, Scott, you will make the solemn promise to live in chaste celibacy and to fulfill your ministry in a spirit of loving obedience to me and to the Church. Your chaste and generous love as well as your spirit of loving communion indicate a readiness to give yourself completely to Christ and to the Church. In this way, you will be an “icon” of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and all the saints, may you embrace and live this ministry with reverence, joy, and generosity as you continue your journey toward priestly ordination in the year ahead. And may God bless you and keep you always in his love!