This past weekend an historical event took place in Des Moines, Iowa. was ordained to the deaconate. Some might wonder why the significance, well, he is one of the first Americans to enter into Orders under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus. You see, (Father) Seraiah was an Anglican priest.
Reconciliation with Rome is a monumental event, when anyone does it, but there is special significance related to this. The true meaning of religious tolerance and catechesis really shines forth. It has always been the goal for the Church to convert the masses, but it has had varying success over the years and since the Protestant Revolt (some call it a Reformation), it has been very difficult. This is a watershed moment and the reverberations will be heard for all time! A Protestant ecclesial communion is in the process, very real process of reuniting with Holy Mother Church. And (Father) Seraiah couldn’t be happier about it.
Over the last year or so, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of getting to know him and his family quite well. They are God-fearing and their devotion to right thinking and the proper melding of faith and reason is admirable. They are searchers and they have found their way home. When I first met (Father) Seraiah he was finishing up saying an Anglican mass. I was struck by two things,
1. How similar it was to the TLM and
2. the devotion by which he celebrated the service.
Upon speaking with him, I learned that his devotion as an Anglican minister was more Catholic than many priests I know. He has a strong devotion to the Eucharist and a very strong devotion to Our Lady. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was what really captivated me and to be honest it perplexed me a little. I had never seen a Protestant believe with such ferocity about a dogma which is so fundamentally Catholic. As I continued to get to know him I found that his Catholicity was genuine and that his understanding of religion was in tune with Catholicism 100%.
Yesterday, (Father) Seraiah was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church. He will be ordained priest on July 8. As I was speaking with him yesterday, I was struck by the humility that he embodied. He truly sees his ministry within Holy Mother Church as one which is of service. He understands what it means to be deacon. He understands that as he finalizes his preparation to become a priest, that his role is being fully realized. (Father) Seraiah is meant for the work he is about to undertake. I strongly pray that he embraces the ideal which is found through Melchizedek. Hebrews 7 and 8 speak about this considerably and I know that as the days approach, (Father) Seraiah will reflect upon the awesome endeavor he is about to undertake.
I pray for (Father) Seraiah. I pray for his wife Catherine. I pray for his children, Ajha, Ransom, Rook, Blaise and Winter. I pray they understand that as a Catholic priest they must share their familial leader with the Church. They will. This family is an embodiment of charity (in the true sense), love (agape), and clarity of purpose.
While it seems as though I’m singing the praises of (Father) Seraiah, what I am really doing is showing Catholics that there are those who need to be catehcized and evangelized. There are those who we must be ecumenical with in the Orthodox Church. We can and we should recognize the signs and the markers of those who genuinely want to be Catholic and we should support them and praise them. We should help them along their search to find Catholicism and the truth which lies behind it. I met (Father) Seraiah when his journey was more or less complete. I met his family when their journey was more or less complete. But their family gives me hope that there are others. There are others out there when presented with the truth will accept it. The Seraiah’s are a model. (Father) Seraiah is an example of what proper catechesis and what proper acceptance can bring. It can bring fruit. We all should redouble our efforts and we should realize that we can, as a Church, bring about the reconiliation of ecclesial communions.