Jason Christian takes next step toward priesthood
CHARLOTTE — Within the cool confines of St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte seminarian Jason Christian took the next step on his journey to the holy priesthood on Saturday, July 7, as he was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
Priests, deacons and laity escaped the blazing summer heat during the one-and-a-half hour Mass to witness now Deacon Christian's transformation from seminarian to an ordained minister of the Church.
"These recent years leading up to ordination, of study, prayer, and fraternity, have been a great blessing for me," Christian said. "I am sure the ones that lie ahead will likewise be the same. I am very grateful to Bishop Jugis and to my family, and to the countless people who have supported me at each step of the way with their constant and generous prayers."
Bishop Jugis was the main celebrant for the Mass. Concelebrants included Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., abbot of Belmont Abbey; Monsignor Mauricio West, vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of Charlotte; Father John Putnam, judicial vicar; Father Roger Arnsparger, vicar of education; Monsignor John McSweeney, pastor of St. Matthew Church and Father Christopher Gober, director of vocations for the diocese.
A special guest, Monsignor Giancarlo Scalvini of the Diocese of Brescia, Italy was also in attendance. Deacon Christian met him one day while he was at Mass and learning Italian while studying at the North American College in Rome. Monsignor Scalvini has been a huge help to all of the seminarians studying in Rome, providing them outings, meals and fraternity.
"Today our brother Jason is set apart from other men for the exclusive service of God," said Bishop Jugis as the beginning of his homily. "He is to be imprinted with a special character through the sacrament of holy orders which configures him to Christ. Christ who made himself the deacon or servant of all..."
"You, my brother, will show your love for God who bestows this gift on you by faithfully fulfilling this ordained ministry, by proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the sacrifice and distributing Our Lord's Body and Blood to the faithful, you will be serving Jesus as you build up His Church and make a return for love of the love He has shown you."
Deacon Christian's family – his mother and father, Dee and Joe Christian; his brother, Jeremy, and his sister, Ana, presented the gifts to Bishop Jugis during the Mass.
"God in his love has chosen Jason for this special office of the Church to configure him to Jesus, His only son, His beloved son ... who came not to be served but to serve, to give His life for the ransom of many," added Bishop Jugis.
Deacon Christian will be serving this summer at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury until Sept. 3.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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