Several weeks ago, three men in Holy Cross took their Final Vows and were ordained Deacons in the Catholic Church. I cannot say much more about the event without repeating the words of our Provincial, Fr. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C. If you’ve read his words, you’ll already know the great sacrifice and responsibility that these men are accepting. You probably already know how important, and life-changing Ordination and Final Vows are to them, and how much time, prayer, education, and formation culminated in that weekend. But what you probably don’t know is the secret role the rest of us seminarians play during Final Vows weekend.
Yes, the seminarians do a lot of work during Final Vows weekend (as we do for Ordination Weekend in the spring). We are the behind-the-scenes task force that keeps the weekend going. We hand out programs, help people navigate their way from prayer services to socials, host the families and guests coming in from around the country, and much more. Our involvement has multiple motivations: Beyond mere obedience to our superiors, we are also engaged in the events of the weekend because we know the Men of Honor very well.
This is especially true in the case of now Deacon Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. Last year, Jarrod came to live in Old College. Usually, a third year temporarily professed seminarian will come to live with us in Old College. (For this academic year, it is Adam Booth, C.S.C.) Over the previous year, Jarrod lived in the building, served on the formation staff, and participated in our community. We grew close to him, and he became an older brother to us. It was this relationship that struck me the most during Ordinations.
I had the honor of serving as a Bishop’s Attendant during the Ordination to the Diaconate, which meant that I stood behind the Bishop for the entire Mass. Before Mass, I had the opportunity to speak with Jarrod in the Sacristy. Throughout the whole exchange he was visibly nervous, a scene that reminded me of a similar conversation I had with my sister on her wedding day. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about (but it was probably Notre Dame football), because I was so overcome with the joy of the occasion. Here was my brother, whom I had come to love dearly, and on this day he was to be ordained a minister of Christ. What a joyful occasion! It was that ineffable joy which caused my to wipe my watery eyes when the Bishop laid his hands on Jarrod’s head: my brother was now a Deacon.
Mr. Josh Bathon is in his third year at Old College Undergraduate Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. He and his fellow Old Collegians write a post each month for the Spes Unica Blog, sharing on their life and formation in Old College. He is studying philosophy and history at the University of Notre Dame. Read more about life in Old College, and meet the current Old Collegians who are in formation for priesthood and religious life in Holy Cross.