Friday, 4 August 2017

Read New Deacon's Own Story on his Recent Ordination

Deacon Tristan Cranfield
I was ordained to the diaconate at Villa Palazzola on 12th July, by the Bishop of Middlesbrough, Terrence Drainey, along with five other men from the Venerable English College. By tradition, the ordinations take place at the College's summer residence, Villa Palazzola, which is located just outside Rome, in a solitary, but picturesque spot on a cliff-top overlooking Lake Albano. The church is small, dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. The weather was anything but snowy, however, the fierce Roman sunshine making the ordination Mass itself a rather uncomfortably warm affair! Despite the distraction of the heat, it was still a beautiful occasion - more beautiful than I had imagined it would be.

I suppose that, as a seminarian, you are concentrating so much on preparing for future priestly ministry that you can easily overlook the phase that all priests must pass through as a deacon. I say, "pass through", but technically speaking, this is incorrect: in fact, a man ordained as a deacon remains one even if and when he becomes a priest later. In this way, he is conformed to Christ the "Servant" (the literal meaning of the word "deacon") and remains so for his whole life. 

Thankfully, having made a good retreat and having had plenty of time over the last few months to reflect on the particular nature of the diaconate meant that on the day, my brothers and I were able to concentrate well on the meaning of what was going on in the various parts of the Ordination rite: the promises of obedience and celibacy, the prostration and Litany of the Saints, the laying on of hands, the prayer of consecration, and the investiture with stole and dalmatic. As with any liturgy, then, it was all the more meaningful and powerful in opening our eyes to God's presence in the rite, and in the Mass, because we were well prepared to take part in it.

The celebration that followed the Mass was wonderful too: lunch in the garden of the Villa with a few members of family and friends, including several priests of our own diocese. It was a such a joy to celebrate with them, just as it has been to come back to the diocese this summer and begin exercising my ministry here. I'll be spending the following academic year back in Rome for one last time, finishing studies in preparation for final ordination to the priesthood in 2018. Please pray for me, and for my brother seminarians from A&B during this time, and for more vocations to the priesthood.

Photos Canon Tim Madeley

Deacon Tristan with his parents

Deacon Tristan with A&B Seminarian Tom Kent

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