By Andrew Morgan
The wives of the deacons both in the Diocese of Memphis and Jackson played a special role in their formation and ordination. Many of them attended all but a handful of the classes with their husbands during the five-year formation. At the ordination Mass, the wives carried their husband’s vestments in the procession and presented them to the priests or deacons at the time of vesting.
Another example of their commitment to the ministry was the unusual gift they gave their husbands – the gift of prayer. The wives and a volunteer organized and prayed a novena starting on May 13, for the men in the Memphis diocese, and then a second time beginning May 26 for the men in Jackson. The volunteer was praying for the unmarried candidates.
The novena was composed by Sarah D’Addabbo, wife of Mike D’Addabbo of the Diocese of Memphis. D’Addabbo felt called to write a small prayer as part of her spiritual preparation for her husband’s ordination. She collaborated with Shona Moore, wife of Philip Moore, also from Memphis.
The pair started gathering writings and ideas. D’Addabbo found some lines written by Father John McKenna, CSSR, that became her inspiration for the prayer. when she obtained his permission to use his writings, Father McKenna said he was honored his words would be used for a novena.
D’Addabbo shared the prayer with family and friends who wanted to pray it as well, and they adjusted it to make it fit their relationship with the men they know.
Dawn McGinley, John McGinley’s wife, was closely involved with her husband through his formation. “I was blessed to be able to attend all but three of the formation classes with my husband. It helped us grow together as a couple and see our faith in a new way, she noted. “It was a great privilege to watch each of these men grow spiritually and personally. Each one has a wonderful gift that will benefit our diocese, the parishes and the people they will serve.”
She had this to say when asked why they chose to say a novena for their husbands. “Novenas are beautiful prayers that require a special discipline to pray every day. I personally have felt that God is asking me to pray for my husband and his vocation in the diaconate,” she said.
“I feel it is a way I can share in his ministry. I may not even know who he is helping or what they need but when he gets called to serve, I can pray. We, as a couple, personally know the power of intercessory prayer. We have experienced the power of prayer and God’s response to that prayer through many trials in our life. It is a great gift,” McKinley added.
(Andrew Morgan is a rising sophomore at The Catholic University of America and a graduate of Madison St. Joseph School.)
By Andrew Morgan