Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 7, 2010
Wives and deacons journey together
Three new deacons' wives share their emotions as their husbands make life changing commitments
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Archdiocese has three new permanent deacons and not only the deacons, but their wives too, couldn't be happier.
For Wendy Bell, wife of Deacon Bill Bell, it was a joy to be with like-minded people, relatives and friends at the May 29 ordination ceremony at St. Joseph's Basilica.
For Jacinthe Germain, wife of Deacon Guy Germain, the ordination was moving and spiritual. She said she could feel God's presence in the basilica.
Through her husband's four-year formation, she also grew spiritually. "God provides us with the strength and courage that we need, and that's what he did," said Germain.
And for Nina Obleada, the ordination of her husband Antonio Obleada was the culmination of a journey that she at first resisted.
The wives of the new deacons journeyed with them through the four-year diaconate formation program and all say they were grateful for their inclusion in the process.
Archbishop Richard Smith paid tribute to the wives in his comments.
"You have, from the beginning of your husbands' journey and discernment, been their most faithful companions and most perfect supporters," he said.
"The ministry that they assume today represents a significant change, and is a sacrifice for you as well. All of us gathered here know that it is a sacrifice made of love. We are grateful for the support that you continue to give your husbands."
To the new deacons, Smith said, "This is a day of great joy. The Archdiocese of Edmonton rejoices with you."
By the act of ordination, the archbishop said the deacons are configured forever with Christ.
The gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of ordination is derived from Christ. He told the new deacons that their ministry of the Word must at all times be a confirmation of Christ as Lord and Saviour.
The truth of Jesus must be known to the world, and he entrusted them to spread the Good News. He urged them to model their lives on Christ's.
"Be prepared then to lay down your own lives to make the presence of Christ known," he advised the deacons.
Although Nina and Antonio Obleada have long been active in the Church, serving in the music ministry at St. Theresa's Church since 1994, Nina was initially opposed to the idea of her husband becoming a deacon.
NEED FOR PRAYER
"The very first time he told me, I wasn't prepared. I felt that my life is going to change and I'm not ready for that. I said he had to wait, and we need to pray about this. Years later, the next time the call came again, I still said 'no.' But I decided that I was going to really pray hard about this."
She thought about St. Peter. He felt unworthy, but since it was the Lord's will, he heeded the call to serve God. She was inspired in a similar way, that if being a deacon were God's intentions for her husband, she would fully support him.
"It's going to change our lives as far as Tony's involvement in the Church being quite a bit more. I'm sure it's going to affect our family life, but we will work through it together. I'm not really nervous about this whole thing."
Bill Bell first approached Wendy in 2000 about becoming a deacon, but at that time there was no program. Once the diaconate formation program was initiated, he jumped at the chance to sign up, backed by his wife.
"It was confirmed for me because he was at World Youth Day, and that's a very powerful spiritual experience, so I really think he had a call. Who was I to ask God if he was right or wrong?" said Mrs. Bell.
In their lives, God has given them many opportunities to work together as a couple, and the diaconal ministry is yet another such opportunity.
GIFT FROM GOD
"It was a gift from God. We are getting older and approaching retirement, and we were thinking what are we going to do with our lives. Will we work in the missions? What will we do? I think God helped us decide how to spend our retirement," said Bell.
A highlight for her during the ordination ceremony was the investiture with the stole and dalmatic.
"It was nice to see the priests (Father Jwarnes Reddy Duggimpudi and Father Francis Mariappa) that worked with Bill and supported him through the program come to vest him. They allowed us to stay and be the first ones to hug them, so that was very nice," said Bell.
The dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment proper to the deacon. The stole is worn over the alb, across the left shoulder and chest, and fastened together at the right side.
NEED TO HELP OTHERS
Jacinthe Germain said her husband's decision to become a deacon was expected and welcomed.
"I wasn't surprised because of his need to help others. I was very supportive, and I encouraged him to do what he felt he needed to do," said Germain.
She is convinced that, even with their younger children, his new role as a deacon will not adversely impact their family life.
"We have always been involved in the Church, and our children have embraced the whole concept, so I don't really think it's going to change very much. If anything, it will get a little easier now," she said.
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