This past Saturday Bishop Stika ordained Arthur Torres Barona as a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Knoxville. The ordination took place at St. Mary Church in Johnson City where Deacon Torres Barona will be serving. The following is a slideshow of photos I shot during the ordination Mass and at the reception that followed. You can also find all of the photos in a set on our Flickr account.
This ordination took on special meaning for me as an Aspirant in formation for the permanent diaconate. It’s such a privilege to be called to serve the Church as a deacon. I believe you’ll be able to see the joy on Deacon Arthur’s face that results from saying “yes” to this call.
It was also good to see several of my Aspirant brothers at the Mass. After completing my first year of formation I’ve discovered that when one spends time learning and serving with like-minded Christians there’s a special bond God creates among you. We call this communio. Many of us in formation are beginning to experience this growing closeness that seems to occur within a Christian community called to serve the Lord together. It’s a bond far deeper than that experienced by fellow Vols fans or other groups sharing a common passion.
I witnessed this bond of communio active between Deacon Arthur and his fellow seminarians attending Saturday’s ordination. They are truly brothers who have grown together in faith and love of the Lord. You could feel the joy of communio radiating from them. I believe it’s also possible to experience communio within one’s parish community when you become actively involved in the life of the parish. Communio can be realized wherever Christians gather to worship, study and serve the Lord together.
I believe the Holy Spirit gives us this special gift of communio to encourage and strengthen us to do God’s work. Living a Christian life can be very difficult in our modern culture, but with a little help from our brothers and sisters we can rise above the darkness and truly reflect God’s light to everyone we meet.
I’m certain that Deacon Arthur’s ministry will be a beacon of hope for all he is privileged to serve. I’m also certain that the bonds he and his brother seminarians have formed will last a lifetime. May God bless him and his ministry as he continues his journey into the priesthood. May we all resolve to become more involved in the life of the Church so as to experience lasting and meaningful relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.