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Love of the Mass propels Deacon Chris Tipton

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As he stood in his vestments, Deacon Christopher F. Tipton realized all the church-goers were looking at him, waiting for the baptism to begin. As the privilege and responsibility of the moment washed over him, he said a little prayer — “Oh dear Jesus, thank you so much for this gift.” 

Deacon Tipton describes his last year as a transitional deacon as “utterly fantastic.” He continued his studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., while serving at a nearby parish and, when back in town, at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

“Being able to perform some of the sacraments was really awesome and inspiring,” said Deacon Tipton. “Giving homilies also was a real pleasure. People are not only extremely generous but extremely patient and very encouraging.”

Deacon Tipton was born to Pamela and Frank Tipton May 2, 1989, in Fayetteville, N.C. As a military family, they moved around a lot, spending many years in Europe. There, they visited several beautiful places, including Ars, France, the home of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. 

“I’m inspired by his simplicity, his dedication to persevering for the flock and his patient suffering for the sake of the salvation of souls,” said Tipton. 

In 2006, the family settled in the Diocese of Arlington and began attending Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, where Deacon Tipton will celebrate his first Mass as a priest June 10 at 9 a.m. “The people at Holy Spirit have always been extremely welcoming,” Deacon Tipton said, and he’s proud of the many men from the parish who recently were ordained to the priesthood or diaconate. 

Deacon Tipton graduated from Christendom College in Front Royal in 2012 and shortly afterward entered the seminary. He’s not the only one in the family to discern a vocation. His little sister, now known as Sister Anna Joy, entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia  in Nashville and currently is in her canonical year —   a period of intense discernment.  

After his June 9 ordination, Deacon Tipton will be a parochial vicar at St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax. He most anticipates being in a parish and celebrating the Mass. “I became a seminarian because of the Mass — praying with it, studying it, watching the priest,” he said. “He becomes the mediator, the one who offers the prayers, the joys, the anxieties of the congregation to Christ in the celebration of the Mass. I can’t wait to enter into it more fully.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018