Revisiting “Are You Ready, Are You Prepared?”

My “Clergy Bag”… that’s what I call it. How it came to be in the first place, and how much I missed it when it needed repair from constant use says a lot about the community of deacons in our diocese. Clergy_Bag_CollageAnd, as a side note, in the process of having the well-used leather bag repaired, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to my heart, “This is a tool for evangelization every single time you carry it in public.”

How the “Clergy Bag” came to be – Donnie…  A friendly, bear of a man and Italian to the bone with a heart big enough to totally surround you with love was in the group of men two years behind us in diaconate formation. When he was a year away from ordination, he was light years ahead of me in thinking about his call to vocation. As a volunteer fire fighter, Donnie wrote a very moving note to “His Band of Brothers”, the other men in formation with him, after encountering a difficult pastoral situation. I was just a month away from my own ordination and thinking about all that lay ahead.  When I received his note entitled, “Are You Ready, Are You Prepared?” his words moved me:  both emotionally and physically.

Then it happened:  the thing I was not prepared for. The thing I did not think would even come up, the one thing I did not expect; they asked me to go inside and pray over her. [..] I need to be ready for the next one [pastoral call] and I am positive it will come either through the Fire Department or from Church. Some things I need to put in a kit; it’s not started yet, note pad, phone numbers, various prayers, etc. etc. I write this to let you know that as we aspire to the goal of becoming a Deacon we must be ready for anything, at anytime and anywhere.

Within a day or two of Donnie sharing his experience, I put together my “Deacon Kit”.  I have carried my “clergy bag” with me all the time in my diaconate ministry for the past seven years. Pastoral visits to homes, hospitals and prison; for all liturgical obligations; conferences, meetings and whenever I’m working on ministry away from home. That black leather bag with it’s pockets, expandable folder inside and all is just large enough to hold my iPad, too. AND: the original bag pictured above, was just black leather… no patches!

Next post:  Why I missed my clergy bag and how it will help me to EVANGELIZE.

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