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.
A close friend of Heart’s Home community,