Monday, January 17, 2011

Bryan Ochs' Ordination {Transitional Deacon}

Archbishop Sartain gives the homily at the Church of the Assumption
on the occasion of Bryan Ochs' deaconate ordination Mass.
Bryan Ochs prostrates himself before the altar at his Deaconate Ordination Mass,
as the entire assembly calls upon the angels and saints to pray for him.

By the laying on of hands, Bryan is ordained as a deacon, the first step toward his priestly ordination.

Bryan serves as deacon for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Deacon Bryan Ochs incenses the assembly.

Zachary and Ezra greet Archbishop Sartain after Mass.

Tim, Hannah and Hope celebrate Bryan's ordination.

Bryan Ochs' ordination Mass, held at the Church of the Assumption January 16, 2011, was attended by Archbishop Sartain (who presided and ordained Bryan) as well as over twenty priests, several deacons and seminarians.  The Church was packed with the faithful, many having come a great distance to witness Bryan's ordination.  His ordination Mass was a solemn liturgy, with the ancient rite of ordination, including the laying on of hands by the bishop.  The music and environment were extraordinary, and the whole experience is one we will not soon forget.  As Bryan became a deacon, he moved from his place in the pew next to his parents to his seat with the clergy, an outward sign of his inward transformation.  As a mother, that movement is one of the most profound and touching parts of an ordination Mass.

Archbishop Sartain's heartfelt words to Bryan stressed the profound nature of his call to the priesthood and the fact that "this is not a new job" but a complete transformation.  He praised Bryan's parents for helping Bryan grow in holiness by their personal example of living the faith, and by their witness to the sanctity of marriage.  In his homily, Archbishop Sartain instructed Bryan:
"Cling to Christ with an undivided heart...You were consecrated in truth at your baptism and called from your mother's womb (to the priesthood).  Never take your eyes off the Gospel, and like Isaiah, God will make you 'a light to the nations.'
Like John the Baptist, you are to say to everyone, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"  Give up your life and take up your cross... disappear into Christ so that His Word may be proclaimed.
Show us what it means to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Give yourself sacrificially to the Lord and to His people.  Be ready to die to yourself minute by minute.
You will be changed forever by the grace of God.  It will be the Lord Jesus Christ in and through you. When you baptize, it will be the Lord Jesus; when you serve the poor, it will be the Lord Jesus who comes to them.
Be at peace, for just as the Lord called you from the womb, so will the grace of Holy Orders be with you for the rest of your life!"

Deacon Bryan will now continue to prepare for his priestly ordination (June, 2011) while serving as a transitional deacon.  We are truly blessed to have been able to witness his ordination to the deaconate at a packed Church of the Assumption.  What a tremendous blessing for our community to behold Bryan's transformation through the sacrament of Holy Orders.

In light Bryan's ordination, it's especially interesting to read what two ancient Christians, Ignatius of Antioch and Hippolytus, have to say about Holy Orders, to get a sense of the historical significance of this sacrament:

“In like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and college of the apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a church. I am confident that you accept this, for I have received the exemplar of your love and have it with me in the person of your bishop. His very demeanor is a great lesson and his meekness is his strength. I believe that even the godless do respect him.”   (Letter to the Trallians 2:1–3 [A.D. 110])., 3:1–2).
“When a deacon is to be ordained, he is chosen after the fashion of those things said above, the bishop alone in like manner imposing his hands upon him as we have prescribed. In the ordaining of a deacon, this is the reason why the bishop alone is to impose his hands upon him: he is not ordained to the priesthood, but to serve the bishop and to fulfill the bishop’s command. He has no part in the council of the clergy, but is to attend to his own duties and is to acquaint the bishop with such matters as are needful. . ."  (The Apostolic Tradition 9 [A.D. 215]).

Please keep Bryan Ochs, all seminarians, and all those discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life in your prayers.

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