On Saturday, October 1, the Center for Diaconal Formation at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology (ICSST) welcomed more than 200 members of the diaconate, religious and clerical communities as well as men looking to become deacons for a special presentation, Aflame with the Eucharist: "We Cannot But Speak…," by renowned author and speaker Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.
Held at St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey, the event drew together deacons, wives of deacons, clergy, religious personnel, and others from the Archdiocese of Newark and the dioceses of Paterson, Metuchen, and Trenton.
The morning began with an introduction and welcome by Deacon Andrew Saunders, director of the Center for Diaconal Formation, and an opening prayer by Reverend Christopher Ciccarino, S.S.L., S.T.D., associate dean for seminary and academic studies at ICSST. Both invited participants to listen attentively and draw inspiration from their morning together.
Following, Deacon Keating, who has nearly 30 years of experience in clerical formation, captured the audience’s attention as he explored how the Eucharist – the Sacrament of Love – ignites evangelization within the nooks and crannies of secular culture.
Deacons are in a unique, yet critical position in the Catholic Church, Deacon Keating offered: "The deacon stands at the door between Church and culture ready to welcome those who are depleted from fantasy, ideology and idolatry, welcoming them into reality. This welcome is communicated through the deacon’s proclamation of the Word of God and his service of prayer aiming to heal the wounds inflicted by cultural errors."
A professor of Spiritual Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, Deacon Keating is known for his expertise in spiritual, morality, and clerical formation. He is an accomplished author or editor of 28 books, most recently publishing Remain in Me: Holy Orders, Prayer and Ministry and Configured to Christ: Spiritual Direction and Clergy Formation.
As servants to the Church, Deacon Keating noted, deacons are witnesses to the Word of God that extend not only to the communities they serve, but also beyond. Reflecting on the flow of divine life from Christ, Deacon Keating emphasized, "The deacon acts as a conduit of this flowing life, both in the distributing of Holy Communion and in the culture – at the restaurant dining table, the school cafeteria, or the prison lunchroom. He becomes the bearer of divine life to all the hidden places of culture wherein the Body of Christ dwells, just as blood reaches to the deepest shadowed caverns of the human body."
Through his thoughtful metaphors, Deacon Keating challenged the audience to view their prayer life and relationship with God in a different light. In the words of one participant, "Deacon Keating was insightful, engaging and funny. The talk was like a massage session for my soul: reducing tension, deepening the flow of my relationship to God and stimulating the heart to love more fully – a spiritual sense of well-being."
The spiritual impact of Deacon Keating’s presentation was also reiterated by another participant who highlighted, "The talk inspired me to live the Eucharist intensely, as only someone who has experienced this in his daily life can speak like [Keating] about the Eucharist."
For more information on the Center for Diaconal Formation, its offerings, and other upcoming events, please visit the Center’s website.
About Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology:
Immaculate Conception Seminary is a House of Formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood and the School of Theology of Seton Hall University. As a House of Formation, the Seminary offers men preparing for the priesthood the personal, academic, ministerial, and spiritual formation essential for their conversion to Jesus Christ and for their commitment to a life of service to the Church.
As a School of Theology, the Seminary provides: a theological and philosophical foundation for men and women pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies; a theological foundation and a pastoral and spiritual formation for men and women preparing for ministries among the people of God; a theological foundation for men and women desiring to pursue doctoral studies; and varied opportunities for continuing theological education.
Categories: Faith and Service