"...Dominic Charles Petan, son of William and Josephine Petan, of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, having presented my petition to the bishop for receiving the Order of Diaconate, do now, as Sacred Ordination is at hand, having diligently weighed the matter before God, testify under oath that I am not motivated by any force or fear in receiving this Sacred Order but ask for it of my own free will and choice because I believe that I am truly called by God to do so.
"I assert that one and all of the duties flowing from this Sacred Order are fully known to me, which duties I willingly accept and propose with God's help to carry out most diligently all the days of my life.
"Especially I swear that I clearly understand the implication of the law of celibacy and that I freely embrace it and will keep it faithfully with God's help until the end of my life.
"Finally I faithfully swear that, according to the norms of the Sacred Canons, I shall obey most faithfully in all the matters which my superiors command and the discipline of the Church demands and that I am prepared to give a good example in word and deed, relying in the hope that I may be rewarded by God for receiving this Order.
"So I affirm, so profess, so I swear; so help me God and these holy Gospels which I touch with my hand."
This is the Declaration of Freedom that, along with the Oath of Fidelity and the Profession of Faith, are known as "Deacon Promises." My classmates and I here at Saint Meinrad made these promises in a moving ceremony last night. Our Rector, Fr. Denis, preached a potent homily reminding us that our promises here are small in comparison to the eternal promise that God has made to us, "Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened to you." These promises represent the last act required by Canon Law before I can be ordained. Thus, from last night on, whenever the bishop decides to call me to Orders, I am free to respond. (This call of course is already scheduled for June 4th)
Approaching the ceremony this week, I was uncertain how I would feel. Having made these promises, however, I feel like I have "placed my hand to the plow" and am ready not to look back. Please continue to pray for me that I may bravely and humbly receive the gift of ordination and embrace confidently the ministry it calls me to.