|A proud mom moment!|
Cody attended college in Montana, and had decided upon final priestly ordination, he would work for the diocese of Helena, MT. Therefore, his diaconate ordination took place in Helena, the diocese headquarters.
|Lovely cathedral of Saint Helena|
Cody had lots of family there to support him on the first step of his journey. My husband, daughter, and I traveled from Oregon to witness Cody's important day. My parents and two of my brothers also made the trip to Helena.
The Cathedral of Saint Helena was the setting for this solemn ceremony. A magnificent building, I was awed by it's lofty spires and ornate exterior. A perfect venue for such an important event.
|The inside is just as stunning|
The stonework on the cathedral's outer walls was amazing, as were the intricate stained glass windows. Before entering, I spent a lot of time outside trying to capture the many details with my camera.
|Stained glass windows line three sides|
Although the exterior was breathtakingly beautiful, the cathedral's interior was jaw-dropping. Tall marble columns rose above the pews, as if reaching towards the heavens. Beautiful stained glass windows encircled the walls, each one depicting a story of the church. And everything was gilded with gold.
|The deacon and priest candidates (photo from diocese website)|
In addition to Cody, two young men were to be ordained as deacons, and two other men would be ordained as priests. The five candidates processed down the main aisle at the beginning of the mass, followed by nearly all the priests and deacons in the diocese.
|Cody's Ordination (photo by Father Jeff)|
I'd never attended an ordination, so everything was new to me. Due to the solemnity of the ceremony, I opted not to take any photos of the actual event and just observe. But Father Jeff, Cody's college mentor and good friend, was sitting in a prime location and captured this shot of Cody being ordained by the Bishop. He was nice enough to share this photo with us (thank you, Father Jeff!)
The mass was long - well over two hours - and the day hot. Temperatures reached into the upper 90s. Although the cathedral had air conditioning, the high ceilings and packed house kept it from being effective. My family and I sweated bullets. I couldn't even imagine how Cody felt, in his black shirt and pants, with a white cassock over top. And then, as part of the ordination ceremony, the deacons each donned a beautiful robe over top of all that.
|My beautiful kids|
But Cody bore it all like a champ. Once the mass was completed, we all gathered outside to breathe some cool air, and congratulate the new priests and deacons.
|Cody and Bishop Thomas|
Now it was time for photos! I grabbed Cody and my family and herded them back inside to pose in front of the beautiful altar. I asked the Bishop if he'd mind being in a few photographs, and he was gracious enough to oblige. A wonderful man, I was honored to finally meet Bishop Thomas, who Cody had spoken very highly of. The above candid photo, which I captured after a couple of formal shots, turned out to be my favorite.
(On a technical note, all my indoor photos were taken without flash, at higher ISO settings, most around 1600. I think they turned out quite well.)
|Three new deacons!|
Back outside, I was also able to get a couple group shots of Cody and his fellow deacons. These three outstanding young men will all be back next year to be ordained as priests.
|My happy son|
My son was so happy that day! It made my heart glad to see him full of joy.
|First mass with newly ordained priest and deacon|
One of the deacon's many jobs is to assist the priest during the mass. (Deacons can also marry, baptize, and officiate at funerals) During the mass, Cody could now read the gospel, preach homilies, and give the final blessing.
I learned a new priest's first mass is a very special occasion. Cody offered to be the deacon at newly-ordained Father Christoper's first mass the following morning. Of course, my family all attended. Both young men did wonderfully.
Cody spent the rest of his summer break from seminary performing his deacon duties at a nearby parish. I'm told he was kept very, very busy! He'll return to Oregon later this month to complete his last year of seminary. And then, next June, we'll return to Helena to witness our son's final step in realizing the goal he's worked and studied six long years to fulfull - ordination to the priesthood.
I am so extremely proud of my son. I know he will do a lot of good in this world.