by MICHAEL McVEIGH
Newly ordained Kiwi Jesuit Deacon Rob Morris says he’s looking forward to the next stage of his vocational journey.
“I don’t mean that to put the priesthood or ordained ministry above other forms of ministering in the Church. But for me, in terms of my own sense of vocation, I get a sense of fulfilment at the thought of being a sacramental minister for people,” he said.
Deacon Morris was one of twelve Jesuits ordained as deacons at St Ignatius’ Church in Chestnut Hill, Boston, on September 3, with Cardinal Sean O’Malley presiding.
Born in Christchurch, Deacon Morris went to primary school at Our Lady of Victories parish in Sockburn, and attended secondary school at St Thomas of Canterbury College in Upper Riccarton.
He worked at Christchurch Public Hospital and studied history at the University of Canterbury, before joining the Jesuits in 2008.
Much of his formation since then has been as a giver of the Spiritual Exercises — a form of retreat first developed by St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Deacon Morris said retreat work is “humbling”.
“You really experience God’s presence when people open up their own spiritual journey to you. It deepens your own consolation and communion with God. You realise, as weak as we are, and as much as we might struggle to pray ourselves, that God works through us, that we are instruments of God’s work.”
Now that his diaconate ordination is complete, Deacon Morris will be completing his studies at Boston College and ministering at the parishes of Our Lady of Grace and St Mary of the Assumption to the north of Boston. He sees his ministry as about “being Christ for others”.
“Not in a profound theological sense, but in a very real, practical way. We can bring, hopefully, the face of Christ to others through a relationship,” he said.
“And it’s hopefully a relationship of trust. That means a responsibility for the trust that people place in you. We’ve obviously seen how that trust has been betrayed, sadly. But it’s an immensely powerful honour to have that entrée into people’s lives in a way that very few other occupations and ways of life make possible.”
For more about Jesuit life, go to www.jesuit.org. au