Several years ago, I started feeling that God was calling me to a different role in the Church. I wasn’t sure what that was just yet, but I decided to be open to whatever he had in mind for me. As time progressed, I felt a call to the Permanent Diaconate, and after discerning this feeling with my wife Kathy, I applied to be accepted into the formation program.
Now, 3 years into my formation, I have been called to the Ministry of the Word. This is one of the three ministries that form the pillars of the Diaconate (Ministry of the Word, Ministry of the Altar, Ministry of Charity) and an important step on my way to, God willing, ordination as a Permanent Deacon. On September 18, I was instituted as a Lector for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The Church recognizes a diversity of offices in the celebration of the Mass and this is shown outwardly by the diversity of vestments. The common vestment for ordained and instituted ministers is the alb (white garment) and cincture (a rope tied around the waist). Over the alb, the celebrating priest wears a stole around his neck, hanging down in front, and over this he wears a colorful chasuble that indicates the character of the mysteries of faith that are being celebrated. The deacon wears a stole over his alb, diagonal from his left shoulder to his right side, and a dalmatic that matches the liturgical color scheme of the priest’s chasuble.
As a candidate for ordination as a permanent deacon and as instituted lector, I am asked to take the important step of becoming comfortable with being vested in alb and cincture, and taking my place in the sanctuary throughout the Mass. I am excited (and a bit nervous) to take this step in my formation and to be able to share it with the entire congregation.
I am very blessed to be able to join the ranks of lectors, and pray that I may proclaim the Word of God well. I humbly ask for your prayers through the rest of my formation, and that if it is God’s will, I may be ordained in 2025. Be assured of my prayers for you all.
Kris Van Hees