Saint Stephen ordained as a Deacon,
Painted by Onofre Falcó (1512-1560),
Painted between 1555-1560,
Oil on panel
© Prado Museum, Madrid

Saint Stephen ordained as a Deacon,
Painted by Onofre Falcó (1512-1560),
Painted between 1555-1560,
Oil on panel
© Prado Museum, Madrid

Gospel of 15 June 2022

Ordination to the Diaconate

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

Reflection on my diaconate ordination which will happen today

Today I will receive the special grace of ordination to the Diaconate. Seven of my seminarian brothers and I will receive this beautiful gift of the Holy Spirit. Bishop Mark Davies, of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, will ordain us in the Basilica of San Paolo Fuori le Mura, here in Rome. So I would kindly ask you to keep us in your prayers today.

To me it feels as though my whole life has been leading up to this very moment. All I can say is that it will be a beautiful moment and I am genuinely deeply moved. Looking back at the last 51 years, I can see God’s hand, Christ’s love and the Holy Spirit's protection guiding me and encouraging me to come to this day when I offer myself in full service of his Church.

One of the guests who is coming to today’s ordination ceremony, wrote to me saying, ‘I pray for you, Patrick, in order that the Holy Virgin Mary prepares your soul to receive this marvellous grace’. What beautiful words!

I share with you a small photo of my 'past life' if I can call it that. Being an auctioneer for Sotheby’s was a dream come true at the time. But it wasn't to be the ultimate dream. I worked for over 24 years in the art world and enjoyed every minute of it. That ‘first half of my life’ has taught me a lot, mainly to enjoy the little things in life, as one day we look back and realise that actually they were big things.

Patrick van der Vorst at Sothebys

I know I come to offer myself fully to God at a later stage in life, but somehow I could not have done this before. A vocation is an invitation.  God doesn’t force us into doing anything but he simply invites, and we respond… so today it will be a privilege to finally say ‘yes’.

I do realise that ordination will come with responsibilities. It is one thing to get ordained, but it will be a whole different thing to be ordained… and that starts today.

God loves me and every single one of us. All we have to do is to love him back and be grateful. So when you say a prayer for us seminarians today, please join us in expressing our thanks to our good Lord: if you have children, maybe join in by saying thanks for the beautiful children he gave you; if you have good health, join in saying thanks for the health he gave you;… or simply express your gratitude by giving the driver a smile today as you step on that bus; or compliment the gardeners who are looking after our public parks on their floral displays...

Joining the seven seminarians and me in giving thanks to God on our day of Ordination to the Diaconate is the best gift you can give us. Thank you for all your kindness, love and support,


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Caroline Spindlow
Caroline Spindlow(@cara)
3 months ago

Huge congratulations on you ordination. I am late to the party because I couldn’t remember how to post a comment! Today I revisited this entry in order to forward it to colleagues in the Church of England that are being ordained next Sunday. Your thoughts are so wise and I am sure they will have inspiration from them and the glorious artwork. Thank you so much for your daily inspiration Patrick.

Sophy Cartledge
Sophy Cartledge(@catholic-girl)
3 months ago

Congratulations on your ordination today, what a blessing for you and for all of us! Thank you so much for your amazing commentaries and choice of pictures and works of art, which inspire and challenge. It was lovely to see your photo in your previous life at Southerby’s, and to realise that all your gifts and talents are now being used in a very special way. God Bless you for all you do!

Patricia O'Brien
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
3 months ago

Wonderful, wonderful! Every blessing for you Patrick on this next step towards your priesthood.
Today has also prompted a number to register I notice…you are clearly bearing fruit that will last.

Jane Taylor
Jane Taylor(@janee)
3 months ago

A wonderful occasion, Patrick, literally. It reminds me of the day when I converted to Catholicism and was accepted into the church from which I have never looked back. Your daily artworks are inspired. May God bless richly your priesthood

Caroline Capus
Caroline Capus(@carolinemaria)
3 months ago

Congratulations on your ordination. We need priests like you in the church . Thank you for your daily insights into the Gospel and the interpretations in art.

Mario Pereira
Mario Pereira(@mario)
3 months ago

Just like Antonio, since the change of the site I have not taken the effort to register. Today is a good reason to make the effort ! Thank you Patrick for sharing your path with us everyday in the most beautiful and sensitive way. You have brought the talents of your past life to this new life that enlightens our day. Congratulations on this special day and many blessings.

Readings related to Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

23 February 2021

Matthew 6:7-15

Our Father in heaven

19 June 2019

Matthew 6: 1-6,16-18

Your almsgiving must be secret

3 March 2020

Matthew 6:7-15

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him

21 June 2019

Matthew 6: 19-23

Store up treasures in heaven

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