Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Deacon in the Family

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know that my son Cody has been attending seminary.  For the past five years, he's been studying to become a priest.  A huge step towards this goal is the ordination to a deacon, which usually occurs one year prior to the priestly ordination.  In a late June ceremony, my son officially became a deacon.

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. 

Exterior close-up

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!)

Family photo

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. 

Deacon Cody

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.


  1. Linda, I am very happy for Cody! Your photos are beautiful, and I love the dress you are wearing! You have a lovely family! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your son's, Cody, special day with us in photos. Congratulations to Cody and I know you and your family are proud of his accomplishments. Prayers for all of you. Hugs!!

  3. Congrats to Cody, what a huge milestone! The church looks beautiful, reminds me of the cathedral in Marquette, MI, which has a similar look inside.

  4. Heartwarming. You have much to be proud of.
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and important occasion.

  5. Awesome. Congratulations to your son. You have taken some grat photos of the cathederal and put min eto shame what I do with a tripod. You can see them here http://graveplace.blogspot.co.uk/ where I visit the churches I am near to at the time. Very few are Catholic most are C of E.
    Hope you son enjoys his time and look forward to seeing him become a priest

  6. What a wonderful documented post Linda with great photographs. Well done Cody. Glad everything went off well.

  7. What a proud moment. Those are photos to treasure. Many congratulations to him.

  8. Congrats! Cody looks so handsome in the pictures!

  9. Your pride in your son shows in these pictures. Congratulations to both Cody and you on this wonderful occasion.

  10. Linda, congrats to your son the deacon. I can see why you are so proud of him! Wonderful photos from the ceremony. The Cathedral is gorgeous, inside and out! Thanks for sharing this special day for your family.

  11. What a wonderful milestone for Cody and for you as a parent! It is so fulfilling to see your children come into their own!

  12. Congratulations to Cody and to the other new deacons and priests. This is a world I know little to nothing about. Cody is a very fine looking young man; you have every right to be proud of him! :-)

  13. You should be proud - what an amazing journey. Please congratulate him for me. Love the photos of him.

  14. Congratulations to your son! Your hubby dresses up pretty well too! Stunning church.

  15. How wonderful! What a beautiful pots. Congratulations to your son. What a proud mom you must be. And yes, he will definitely do a lot of good in this world. He looks so happy. You all do!

  16. What a proud and happy day for Cody and his parents. I clearly remember my brother's ordination as a Lutheran minister many years ago. He had finished eight years of college.

  17. This post made me smile A LOT! Congratulations to your son--Deacon Cody, May God be with your son as he seeks to serve Him in his vocation!
    PS: Beautiful photos Linda:)

  18. Congrats to your son and family! Looks like a beautiful day for the ceremony!

  19. Congratulations to you all! What a lovely family photograph of you four! That church is something else, must have been built when mining was good:)

  20. What a wonderful event. Congrats to your son, Cody and to you as proud parents.

  21. What a special day for your family, especially Cody. You have every right to feel proud and to want to share the joy of Cody's commitment to the church. I didn't expect to find such a magnificent cathedral, outside Europe.

  22. Congratulations! I can hear in your words how proud you are of Cody. And the Cathedral of Saint Helena is indeed a beautiful place!

  23. Congratulations to Cody and to the whole family. I have attended an ordination so I can relate to your bullets of sweat. But it's all worth witnessing. The cathedral looks fantastic!

  24. This is just beautiful. So different from the way my church ordains deacons, so thank you for the detail and pictures. I can't imagine how incredibly proud you must be.

  25. Hey proud mama! Tom The Backroads Traveller

  26. What a wonderful record of this special occasion! Your photos of the interior of the cathedral, and especially the close-ups of the stained glass, and the vestments, are so beautiful. You perfectly captured the look of joy on the faces of those participating. You must be so proud of your son!

  27. Thats a big day for him and his family.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  28. Hi! Congratulations to Cody. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Looks a beautiful Cathedral and well done Cody and family on a hot day. I fell asleep years ago in a hot airless room, much to my embarrassment and despite 2 cups of black coffee, during someone's recital at an important work event. First time for everything but it did make the afternoon go quicker.

  30. Congratulations! That was an important day for your son and whole family. What a great excuse to visit Montana, too.

  31. Your kids really are so beautiful, Linda!
    I am so happy for Cody, and for you, Linda, seeing him achieve and accomplish his dreams. As a mom, I've always felt that there is no better feeling than watching your kids do what they love, (and do it well!)
    Cody's ordainment is particularly touching to me, as a friend of mine who we lost early this spring, dreamed of the priesthood and was devoted cantor to his church. It is wonderful to know of another young man who is attaining his dreams.

  32. How wonderful Linda, and what an incredible celebration for you all. These pictures show a very loving family. A very proud moment to be sure.

  33. That is so great! Congrats to Cody! and you as wonderful parents.
    That is a beautiful cathedral. I remember being in awe the first time I went there, Have you visited the one in St Ignatius north of Missoula on your way through ever, it is gorgeous as well,

  34. Congrats to your family and your son Linda. What an accomplishment! The stained glass is simply gorgeous in the cathedral. You can see that I am playing catch up. :)


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