“How am I going to serve?”

How am I going to serve? The word “deacon” (diaconos) in Greek means “servant,” and so this question is well worth asking for a man discerning a call to the diaconate. This question of how we are going to serve vividly entered the minds of the 13 men in the Diaconal Formation Program at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa. on one unforgettable night this year.

It was June 22. We had received hours and hours of training in liturgical practicum from Father Robert Pipta, rector of the Seminary. On that night it was our chance to execute, and we all knew that close attention would be placed on how we were going to serve.

We had drawn a number at random, and that number stood for our order in line to practice serving as a deacon in the Presanctified Liturgy. We went from start to finish through the Liturgy with no comments on whether we were standing facing the wrong direction, using the wrong melody, and the like. How am I going to serve? What am I going to intone? Where do I stand, exactly?

These questions multiplied as the 13 men in diaconal formation took the Liturgical Practicum exam on that Friday night. As each of us had our numbers called, Continue reading