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My Diaconate Ordination

Deacons in the Bible

We read that as the Jesus Movement grew, there needed to be a division of labor and so the position of deacons was created so that they could care for the physical needs of the community – leaving the apostles (now known as priests) to pray and share the Good News (Acts 6:1-6). Women were deacons (1 Tim 3:8-12). St. Paul calls out his companion Deacon St. Phoebe (Romans 16:1).

Diaconate Ordination Before Priestly Ordination 

Today, all Catholic priests are first ordained deacons. We commit to serving. Usually, there is about six months between the two ordinations. For a variety of reasons, there is about 6 weeks – 42 days – between mine. On June 10, 2023, I gathered with my family, closest friends and those with whom I regularly pray to be ordained as a deacon. Below are highlights from my diaconate process.  Enjoy!

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The Letter

After discerning my call to ministry, applying and being accepted, studying five courses including writing about 30 papers, and assuring my bishop, Bridget Mary Meehan, and companion priest, Denise Hackert-Stoner, that I was ready to be ordained to the diaconate, I had to formally write a letter to my bishop asking to be ordained a deacon. You may read my letter here.

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The Worship Aid

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests follows the Vatican’s ordination ceremony – word for word. The ordinand, the person being ordained, may choose her readings as well as songs and customize her own Litany of Saints. Here is the Worship Aid for my Liturgy (prayer service) that includes my choices and an explanation.

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AndreaGrace

After the opening prayer, the bishop called me forward with my formal name: Andrea Josephine Fonte Weaver. From that point on, she used “AndreaGrace”, the name I accepted with my initial vows to ministry at One Spirit Interfaith/Interspiritual Seminary. I will now use AndreaGrace going forward (no space between the names and no last name). My priest-friend, Rosemary Robinson, flew in from San Francisco to serve the bishop, me and my family! What a gift!

Providing a Testimony

The bishop asks the community if they have found me ready and worthy. Someone must give a testimony. My youngest son, Kevin, spoke on behalf of his brothers. You may read his witness here.

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Giving The Homilies

After the readings, the Bishop gave her homily


Then, I went to give mine – and in a total miscommunication, it was not printed! After everyone’s heart sank – and I asked for a minute and offered a prayer – I delivered mine through the grace of the Holy Spirit! Here is what I had planned to say.

Examining the Candidate

There was the Examination of the Candidate when I was asked many questions about my readiness to serve.

Invoking the Litany of Saints

I laid prostrated while we asked the Saint and saints to pray with us for me… and those to whom I would minister. You may read my Litany of Saints here.

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Laying on of Hands

In silence, the Bishop then all who were gathered came up to lay hands on me and pray for me. It was powerful. With each person or group, I felt the fruit of the Spirit wash over me in waves – love, joy, peace, goodness and more… I had felt the POWER of the Spirit in full force at the rehearsal!

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Consecrating

The Bishop then consecrated me.

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Vesting

I was vested with a deacon’s stole – symbolizing my readiness to serve. A deacon’s stole goes across the heart while I priest’s stole hangs straight down. My dear husband vested me! My mom made the beautiful stole – embellished with butterflies, symbolizing new life, laid over lavender fabric; purple is the color of spirituality and wisdom.

Presenting the Book of the Gospels

The women of the Bible Study I teach presented me with a beautiful Book of the Gospels which will now be used at all of my liturgies.

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Presenting Deacon AndreaGrace

I was then formally presented to the community as Deacon AndreaGrace.

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Offering the Final Blessing

I was thrilled to offer the final blessing!

Signing the Certificate

After the ceremony, the Bishop and I signed the official certificates which you can see here.

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Reflecting

In the following days, I wrote a reflection on the week, which you may read here.

Living in the Overflow

My anthem for the week was Living in the Overflow. Enjoy it here

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And a HUGE thank you to…

Sue Ogar for her amazing photography. Check out her website

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