‘Father Son, Deacon Dad’

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The sacristy at All Saints Church in Manassas was empty just before the 11:30 Mass Jan. 18, save for two men. Father Joseph Goldsmith, a priest of the Richmond Diocese, and his father, newly ordained Deacon Rafael "Ralph" Goldsmith, were vesting for Deacon Goldsmith's first Mass as a permanent deacon.

"What a special moment," said Deacon Goldsmith. "It's (wonderful) to be called to serve."

His son, Father Joseph, added "It's a great joy - and humbling."

Father Lee R. Roos, pastor, joined the two men, vested and walked to the front of the church in preparation for the historic parish event.

"We welcome Father Joseph and congratulate Deacon Ralph," Father Roos said before the Mass began.

For his first homily, Deacon Goldsmith walked to the front of the altar and began his sermon, not behind the pulpit, but pacing the altar, using humor to make his points.

His homily was on the theme "Speak Lord, your servant is listening." God wants us to pay attention to His call.

After Mass, and before dismissal, Father Goldsmith spoke to the congregation. He said that he and his father wondered how the two should be addressed in the family. They came up with "Father Son, Deacon Dad."

Father Goldsmith, parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Church in Harrisonburg, spoke of the two vocations in the family, gently chiding his father, "Some got there sooner, Dad."

At the reception that followed the Mass, well-wishers waited in line to congratulate the new deacon. Bruce Koeppel embraced the deacon, his friend of 20 years.

"It's a blessing for the community," Koeppel said.

Father Roos also noted the event's importance to the parish.

"This is a great day of blessing for the All Saints parish and for the deacons who serve in so many ways to help spread the message of Jesus through their service of charity and preaching," said Father Roos.

All Saints Church was blessed with two diaconate ordinations; Deacon James R. Van de Voorde also was ordained Jan. 17 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde.

After Deacon Goldsmith's wife, Mary Alice, welcomed friends and families at the reception, she wiped away a tear talking about the emotional event.

"It's my birthday, too," she said. "I'm blessed by God.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015