Published November 11, 2010
An Atlanta archdiocesan seminarian was among 30 men of the Pontifical North American College recently ordained to the transitional diaconate.
Rev. Mr. Joshua T. Allen will continue his studies in Rome until next summer when he is scheduled to be ordained a priest.
“What I am most thankful for is a spirit of recollection during the ordination rite itself. Often it is easy to get overly worried or concerned about the external actions of the ordination: Am I doing this right? When am I supposed to bow? But during my ordination, I was totally focused on the promises I was making and the gift that the Church was to bestow on me,” he said in an e-mail.
Bishop Bernard Hebda of the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich., celebrated the Mass Thursday, Oct. 7, at St. Peter’s Basilica and ordained the new deacons.
In his homily, Bishop Hebda said the new deacons embark on a difficult but rewarding life of service.
“A life of faithful service is not only possible but satisfying. As you fall prostrate upon the floor of this basilica, give yourselves over completely to Christ and his Church,” said the bishop.
During the ordination, the new deacons promised to live a life of prayer, celibacy and obedience to their diocesan bishop. The new deacons will have an additional year of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood.
As part of the ordination rite, the bishop placed the Book of the Gospels in the hands of each man being ordained and said, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”
Bishop Hebda expressed confidence in the men being ordained. He said, “I have no doubt that the Gospel will be spread by these young men as they leave the basilica this day, on fire with love of Christ and a desire to imitate him in his service.”
Father Luke Ballman, the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, attended the ordination.
“He was just the epitome of joy the whole day,” said Father Ballman about the new deacon. He said Rev. Mr. Allen has a great wit and is an excellent writer.
Indeed, the new deacon, who is 33, said the customary formality of the sign of peace in Rome fell by the wayside among the newly ordained deacons.
“There were great hugs, abundant joy, not a few tears, and an atmosphere of such jubilation that it spilled over into the assembly and the concelebrating priests,” he said.
Rev. Mr. Allen grew up in Roswell and his family attended St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta until St. Andrew Church opened, which was closer to his home. He has one brother and both his parents are deceased.
While he has received his baccalaureate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, he will stay in Rome to complete his licentiate, an advanced degree in sacred theology, which is focused on the earliest theologians, teachers, and saints of the church. As part of his pastoral duties as a deacon, he is assigned to preach and teach at an international school.
Before pursuing his religious vocation, he studied finance at Georgia Tech and worked for several years in that profession.
He said his mother’s death in 2005 spurred him to rethink the direction of his life.
“As I found myself more focused on the things in life that are truly worthwhile, the voice of God began to direct me to a life of profound importance,” he wrote in an e-mail.
He is also a columnist for the Catholic News Agency, a Denver nonprofit founded in 2004. He writes the “Led Into the Truth” column. His topics vary from the unity that sports creates, to a pilgrimage to the Shroud of Turin, a reflection on the vow of respect and obedience, and a sunset seen driving between Naples and Rome.
To read the columns, go to http://bit.ly/deaconallen.