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Seminarian moves one step closer to the priesthood

Aaron Waldeck kneels before Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann as he offers a prayer of consecration during a Mass ordaining Waldeck to the transitional diaconate on May 20 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Shawnee. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

by Marc and Julie Anderson

SHAWNEE — “Solo Dios basta.”

Translated, the phrase means: “God alone suffices.”

The words were among those shared by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann during his homily as part of the ordination Mass of the archdiocese’s newest transitional deacon, the Rev. Mr. Aaron Waldeck.

Held on May 20 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Shawnee, the deacon’s home parish, and with his parents Tobie and Carolyn Waldeck in attendance, the Mass featured all the elements unique to the rite of ordination.

Aaron Waldeck processes down the aisle of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Shawnee at the start of the transitional diaconate ordination on May 20. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

First, during the moment of election, the archbishop formally announces the Lord has chosen the man to serve in diaconal ministry.

After the archbishop’s homily and a series of promises made by the candidate, the future deacon lies prostrate on the floor with his arms outstretched while the entire assembly prays the Litany of the Saints, asking the entire church, including those in heaven as well as those on earth, to intercede on his behalf.

Next, the candidate kneels for the moment of ordination as the archbishop offers a prayer of consecration and asks the Holy Spirit to pour down an abundance of gifts upon the man being ordained.

Father Anthony Saiki speaks to Aaron Waldeck while Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann looks on. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

Near the rite’s end, the newly ordained deacon is invested with a stole and an outer liturgical vestment known as a dalmatic. Finally, right before the newly ordained deacon joins his brother deacons and priests on the altar, he kneels one last time before the archbishop and receives the Book of the Gospels, hearing the words: “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”

According to the archbishop, the diaconate ordination “is the key moment for those aspiring to become priests” and is the day men “make some very bold promises,” including living a life of priestly celibacy as well as proclaiming the faith in word and deed according to the Gospel and the church’s tradition.

It is also the day men place their hands in the hands of the archbishop, promising obedience to him and his successors.

Deacon Aaron Waldeck distributes holy Communion during his ordination to the transitional diaconate. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

Speaking directly to the deacon prior to the ordination itself, the archbishop said, “You can make such promises because you trust that Jesus has sent upon you the Holy Spirit to empower you to do what is humanly impossible but, with God, becomes very possible.”

“The diaconate is the foundational ministry,” the archbishop explained, “for those who the church calls to the priesthood. The priesthood, when properly understood, is all about service. It’s a call to be a servant leader after the example of Jesus who illustrates this by his washing of the feet of his disciples.”

The priesthood is not about titles, honors, recognition or power, he said.

“It’s about being a servant to the people of God,” he said. “It’s a call to lay down one’s life in love for the bride of Jesus, which is the church.”

Deacon Aaron Waldeck poses for a photo with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann following his ordination as a transitional deacon. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

Priests never stop being deacons or servants but are always acting in service for the spiritual and temporal good of the people of God, he added, and ultimately find complete joy in imitating the servant leadership of Jesus.

In conclusion, the archbishop spoke to Deacon Waldeck, repeating the phrase, “Solo Dios basta,” reminding him that it’s the beginning of St. Teresa of Ávila’s well-known prayer, which reads: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things will pass away. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.”

The prayer touched Deacon Waldeck deeply; he had visited Spain and lived in Ávila in a monastery once inhabited by St. Teresa herself.

“It’s about my own life as a minster of the church,” Deacon Waldeck said, referring to the prayer. “God has to be enough for me, but at the same time, if I can live that for myself, I can bring that to others.

“You can’t give what you don’t have. It has to come from my own spiritual life, my own holiness. If God can do that in me and I can be satisfied with the Lord, then that means I can preach it to others.”

To view more photos from the ordination Mass, click here.

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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