Testimony: The life of a young deacon

10th January 2024

5 months after his diaconal ordination, don Bernard looks back on his first impressions of the diaconal ministry, parish life and this new life after 7 years at the seminary.

Mission and preaching the Gospel

These first months in the parish have been very happy! After years of studying, it’s a joy to proclaim the Gospel to all sorts of people, those more or less near to God, young people, those preparing for marriage, those who want to have a child baptised, bereaved families… Sometimes I’m a bit apprehensive about speaking in public for the first time in front of people who are more or less receptive, but since my ordination I’ve been able to rely on the mission entrusted to me by Christ and his Church. It’s a great comfort to do what I’ve been called to do, to rely on the one who sent me as a messenger, and it’s an immense joy to see the receptive looks on people’s faces when we talk about Christ. That’s my deepest motivation, to make Christ known and loved.

I keep a very beautiful memory of my first baptism, rejoicing with the family to see that child enter the family of God, clothed in Christ.

Serving the poorest

Since the beginning of the winter, the parish of Agen has been offering, in conjunction with the Order of Malta, a breakfast served on Sunday mornings at the market. It’s one of the places where I feel most at home, in this simple service for the most disadvantaged. There’s the joy of bringing comfort, the warmth of a hot coffee and good humour. But meeting these people in difficulty is also a way for me to encounter Christ. These are the faces that inhabit my prayer, and give me a taste of the joy of serving the Lord.

Au service de la mission

I arrived at Agen at the end of August, where I joined a team of 4 priests. I give thanks for being able to live out my ministry within this local community, which has warmly welcomed me in a familial atmosphere. As a deacon, I have the occasion to contribute to the mission and life of the parish in a special way. I notice this, in particulary, in the liturgical service, at Mass where, as a deacon, I am at the service of the priest in the liturgical action. It’s an experience of unity, with everyone participating, in their own place, in a coordinated manner, in the unfolding of the Mass. And it’s the image of the communion that the 5 of us, priests and deacons, are trying to live out in the service of the mission.