Nativity of Mary has been assigned one of our Archdiocese’s most newly ordained permanent deacons. Deacon John Shearer was one of seven men who were ordained to the Order of the Diaconate at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Saturday, December 5. Next weekend he begins his official ministry among us.
Deacon John Shearer is 56 years old and has been married for 33 years to his wife Terese. Together they have four children ranging in age from 30 to 17. Their home is in Burnsville. Deacon John is a software developer at Beckman Coulter in Chaska. Terese is a Family Practice physician. She works part time in the evenings as an Urgent Care physician for Allina Health.
In addition to his ministry here, Deacon John also has been given an assignment to serve the department of corrections for all of Ramsey County – so much of his ministry will be devoted to visiting inmates at the Ramsey County jail.
Most Catholics encounter deacons at Mass – proclaiming the gospel and the presenting the petitions, assisting at the altar, receiving the gifts at the offertory, making various proclamations, and purifying the sacred vessels. But the ministry of the deacon is to remind us that the Christian call extends beyond the liturgy.
From the way that the deacon goes forth from the parish to care for the needy in the community, to the way that he serves in love his wife and family, to the virtuous labor he provides at his workplace – all of his life is to invite us all to contemplate, and then to participate in, Christ’s ministry of service to others.
So yes, you will see Deacon John here at Nativity of Mary. Ours will be the first babies he baptizes. Our ears will be the first to hear him preach. But beyond that he is to be a living icon of Christ the Servant. He is to be a window for us to a deeper reality and to draw us into a holy mystery – that we all are to participate in Christ’s ministry of service. We all are to “wash the feet” of others and to serve them in Eucharist-centered, prayerful, and pure love.
So join me in welcoming Deacon John and Terese Shearer. The gift of God comes to us in many and various ways. We receive the gift so that we can become gift to others. Come, Lord Jesus, come.