There may have been 5 years of discernment and development, but let me assure you it didn't begin to prepare us for what awaited. Sure, we had a bit of book knowledge, a touch of theology (compared to our seminarians who might spend an entire semester devouring what we spent a Saturday tasting).
Still, to suggest that we went out into the world unprepared does a tremendous disservice to the faculty and facilitators of the program. More accurately, we walked out of the Cathedral that day not yet fully realizing the great joy of sacramental service that awaited.
I've baptized more babies than I can count, and one old man approaching his final days with wondrous hope. I've sat with the families of people living with terminal illness. I've cried at the loss of new friends in palliative care, and laughed at the remarkable sense of humour of a woman in her last hours. I've sat with families of the deceased, led the prayers in the funeral home, and have found so many new friends along the way.
Most of all I have prayed, for strength, for guidance and in great thankfulness for the many doors this vocation has opened for me (and for the people behind the doors that have been slammed in my face).
On Saturday November 5, 2011 Bishop Fabbro of the London Diocese will ordain another seven men to join us in the streets, funeral homes, schools, hospitals and prisons of our communities. Seven more holy men bringing witness and a sacramental presence to places of darkness and hopelessness. Seven more.
God bless them all.