In only their second ever ordination, the community of Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba rejoiced when their adopted son Matthew Dimian was ordained a deacon.
Matthew, who has been in the parish on pastoral placement for the past 18 months, was ordained by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, on Saturday 5 February in front of family, friends and the community at Holy Family Church, Luddenham.
“We are rejoicing in this celebration, but even more so, we join in prayer for Matthew and for his diaconal ministry,” Bishop Vincent said during the Mass.
“It’s only just begun, so we entrust Matthew and his diaconal ministry into the hands of our God as he continues to guide and shape Matthew in accordance with Christ.”
Bishop Vincent: The Church needs prophets to creatively embody the Gospel
Sharing on a Gospel that is close to his heart, Bishop Vincent encouraged both Matthew and the members of the faithful to have the courage to “go out into the deep.”
“Scriptures on this Sunday challenge us to live life to the full by a discipleship marked with courage, generosity and purpose.
“Like a boat that carried Jesus, we must not prefer the secure shallow harbour to the deeper waters. Christian discipleship is not about protecting one’s status quo, interests and security at all costs. Rather, it is more about the call to follow Christ who expands our limited horizons, challenges our status quo and demands nothing short of a radical alignment of our attitude and behaviour with his vision of a dignified life for all.
“This evening, Mathew is inducted formally to the ministry of diakonia. Your ordination is a sign of hope and renewal of God’s everlasting love to his people.
“The Church needs not only ministers who can dispense the sacraments but also prophets who can find fresh creative ways of embodying and conveying the message of the Gospel to the culture in which we live.
“The spirit of the living Lord is calling us forth to navigate the turbulent waters and to do new things for more effective evangelisation.
“May the teaching and example of Jesus guide us as we endeavour to build relationships and communities that mirror the Reign of God.
“May we have the courage to launch into the deep and allow ourselves to be led by the radical call of the Gospel.”
Matthew: ‘I have felt your prayers working’
In his words of thanks, Matthew said he was “incredibly grateful to receive this great grace of ordination,” encouraging those in attendance to continue to pray for him, one of his favourite farewell messages.
“All glory, thanks and honour be to God, who called me to this vocation…I hope to continue thanking Him each day by using this gift of ordination for His glory by aiding His worship at the altar, by proclaiming His goodness at the ambo and in works of charity that imitate his infinite love.
“To all my friends – I could not have followed this calling if not for your faith, which has inspired my own, your companionship which has encouraged me along the way and your prayers which have kept me afoot.
“To my family – in ways you may not realise, you have been preparing me for this ministry. Thank you for being a home where God is at the centre and you have been such massive supporters of my vocation.
“Thank you all here present for your prayers. I know mostly when I have bumped into any of you, I finish my conversation with ‘please pray for me’. I have felt your prayers working. Thank you so much for your kindness and support, and I ask you to please keep praying for me.
“Pray that I may exercise this new ministry of the diaconate with faithfulness and humility.”
Hoping to give back to parish community
During a small celebration following Mass, Paul, a member of the parish community, told Deacon Matthew that the parish will be walking alongside him on this new part of his “spiritual pilgrimage”.
“We will go with you for the rest of this spiritual pilgrimage, so remember that wherever you are, the parish is with you all the time, and we’re all praying for you, and I know you’re praying for us as well,” he said.
Deacon Matthew made sure to thank the community that he has been fortunate to be a part of, expressing a strong desire to give back to the parish.
“I have received so much from your generosity, your piety, your hardworking spirit and your hospitality.
“Thank you to Fr Giovani [Presiga Gaviria], the parish priest here, who was a patient mentor, an excellent role model and spiritual father to me while I have been here.
“Now that I can do baptisms, weddings and funerals, maybe Fr Giovani might like to have me back to aid the parish. I’d love to come back as much as possible.
“Bishop Vincent, if one day you’d like to appoint me here, I wouldn’t say no,” he said.
View images from Deacon Matthew’s ordination here or below