• June 8, 2009

Diaconate ordination of Paul Anel

Paul and Bishop Caggiano, St James Cathedral in Brooklyn, May 31, 2009.

On Pentecost Sunday, May 31, Paul Anel a mem­ber of the Molokai fra­ter­nity, was or­­dained a dea­con by his Excellency the most Reverend Franck J. Caggiano, aux­il­iary bish­op of Brooklyn. This cel­e­bra­tion took place in St James cathe­dral in Brooklyn and numerous close friends of Heart’s Home USA joined us and shared with us this great joy. Here is the tes­ti­mony of our friend Rachel.

What a joy it has been to get to know Paul Anel and the mem­bers of Heart’s Home. My family met Heart’s Home at St. James Cathedral in down­town Brooklyn; St. James is our parish, and Heart’s Home has been a grace-filled addi­tion both to our parish and to my family. Paul’s ordi­na­tion as a deacon was the first ordi­na­tion I had ever attended, and I was amazed at the beauty of the event.

I was lucky enough to have a seat close enough to the altar that I could see Paul’s full smile as the bishop ordained him and throughout the entire cer­e­mony. His own joy was infec­tious, and I found myself smiling, too. I sat behind his par­ents, who had come in from France, and could feel their pride as they watched their son be ordained. Bishop Caggiano gave a beau­tiful homily in which he got right to the heart of the move­ment’s voca­tion and summed up the mes­sage of Heart’s Home in such a simple, pure way, as the call to accom­pany others, through the com­pas­sion of Christ and by bringing Christ’s pres­ence to others. The effects of this “pres­ence” could be felt at the cer­e­mony itself, attended by so many in the NYC com­mu­nity that had been touched by Paul and by the work of Heart’s Home. Bishop Caggiano is an amazing homilist: he spoke long and well, without any text at all. He brought both energy and deep rev­er­ence to the ordi­na­tion cer­e­mony and, as he and Paul sat on chairs facing each other, it felt to me as if they were involved first in a per­sonal con­ver­sa­tion that was also part of this larger, public event.

For me, the most moving moment of the cer­e­mony was when Paul pros­trated him­self in the form of a cross on the floor of the altar as the cantor sang the exten­sive litany of prayers. I had never seen such a dra­matic demon­stra­tion of what it is to give your life, as Jesus did on the cross, for others. As Paul lay on the altar, arms spread out cross-form, and the cantor sang out the long list of saints whose inter­ces­sion we invoked, the sense of his­tor­ical con­ti­nuity informed and added to the imme­diacy of the ordi­na­tion; it was a strong reminder that what the saints have done throughout his­tory is con­nected to the imi­ta­tion of Christ’s sac­ri­fice that Paul was recalling and calling to mind in me as he lay pros­trate.

The joy of the other mem­bers of Heart’s Home was evi­dent, and I can only imagine their excite­ment in looking ahead to the next step, as Paul con­tinues his journey toward the priest­hood.

Rachel Oberman
A close friend of Heart’s Home community,
Brooklyn, 2009.

" Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of God’s gifts! Come, Light of men’s hearts!"
Sequence of Pentecost.

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