Diaconate Ordination of Derek Lappe

(July 25, 1999)

The diaconate ordination of Derek John Lappe was a beautiful event. Archbishop Brunett presided, a dozen priests concelebrated and the parishioners of St. Rose, Longview turned out in force. At the reception afterward I heard many parishioners say, "we knew Derek since he was a little boy." There was much justifiable pride at St. Rose on July 25. Of course the proudest of all were Derek's parents and his brothers and sisters. One of his brothers who was wearing his Marine Corp uniform read the second reading of the Mass.

This Sunday Derek will be giving his first homily as deacon. Like our own Deacon Ted he will be wearing the diagonal stole which is a symbol of the office. The other liturgical garment which is proper to the deacon is the dalmatic. Its short wide sleeves and somewhat apron-like appearance is a reminder of the origins of the diaconate. As we see in the Bible they were the men chosen to serve in the daily distribution to widows (Acts 6:2 ff). The word deacon comes from the Greek word diaconia which simply means service.

In the course of Church history the role of the deacon grew. In the third century we hear about a deacon named Lawrence. The Emperor Valerian decided to confiscate the property of the church so he called the man in charge, Deacon Lawrence. He told the emperor, "tomorrow I will show you the wealth of the church." He assembled the beggars, the crippled, the blind, the ill and brought them into the palace. "Behold," he said, "the true wealth of the church." St. Lawrence was put to death by being slowly burned over a gridiron. This episode illustrates two features of the third century diaconate: administration of church property and care for the poor. It also shows that many deacons had to give their lives as a testimony to their faith.

Another famous deacon is St. Francis of Assisi. In his humility he did not consider himself worthy to be ordained a priest, but he did receive ordination to the diaconate. As a deacon Francis was one of the most remarkable preachers in the church. In fact, he did something novel: he brought the Gospel right into the main squares of Italian villages. He showed the people the way to "perfect joy." Sometimes his brothers asked him what that joy would consist in. One day after they were laughed at, pelted with spoiled fruit and rejected by some villagers, St. Francis turned to his companion and said, "This is perfect joy." His point was that real joy can only come if we are willing to share the humiliations of Jesus. The life of St. Francis illustrates another essential role of the deacon: to proclaim the Gospel and to explain it to the people in the homily.

Derek Lappe was ordained to the transitional diaconate. This year he will be in transition to the priesthood which, God willing he will receive in June 2000. That term transitional is used in contrast to the permanent diaconate which Deacon Ted Wiese, Deacon Joe Dunne and other married men have undertaken. There will be, by the way, a presentation of the new diaconate program for our Archdiocese. It will take place right here at Holy Family on August 29, 2-4 p.m. I hope many of you will attend to find out more about this important order in our Church.

Beside preaching at Sunday and daily Masses, Deacon Derek will be carrying out some other activities during his time with us this summer. On Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be a barbecue and discussion for young men age 14-25. On August 24, 5-7 p.m. there will be a gathering for our servers which will include pizza. I understand there are still a few openings for home blessings. Accompanied by Peter Mactutis, a new seminarian from our parish, Derek will be visiting different homes for the enthronement of the Sacred Heart and home blessing. You may call the rectory, 767-6220, for more information.


Ordination Pictures (from reception)

Picture of Deacon Derek with Fr. Gallagher (with list of homilies)

Are you being called to the Priesthood?

Samwise Goes to Olympia (Fr. Derek give opening prayer at 2004 March for Life)