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The Weight of the Office (Fr. Gabe Holloway)

February 23, 2023
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Editor’s Note: Gabe Holloway was ordained a priest on February 11, 2023. We asked him to reflect on his experience.

By far the most-asked question since February 11 has been, “So how does it feel?” That’s a tough question to answer.

Unlike being asked on a birthday how it feels to be a year older (um, the same?), a shift really occurred for me in the course of that hour-and-a-half-long ordination service. I can’t exactly pinpoint the word to describe this feeling, but five days into these priestly orders I can say without reservation that it feels remarkably weighty, which seems an appropriate word given the opening of the Exhortation of the service:

“You have heard, during the Church’s discernment of your vocation and in the Holy Scriptures themselves, how weighty is this Office to which you are called.”  —BCP, p. 488

Yes, I’ve heard it — I sat with and listened to and gleaned from many of you reading these words. But, now I’m feeling it. I’m measuring my words, noticing my thoughts, taking account of all that I don’t know. Not to suggest that I can somehow achieve perfect and reverent speech, think only on holy things, or ever reach the end of all works of theology and the Church, but there is certainly a greater urgency toward these things. In seeking them, detached from my pride, I might show myself “both dutiful and thankful to the Lord.”

So as I consider ministry ahead, I believe it’s most appropriate to pause and give thanks for all of you. I cannot and do not want to imagine a ministry without this community of clergy who have welcomed me into the Anglican Church; prayerfully discerned, tested and examined this calling; and literally and figuratively surrounded me in my consecration. I cherish the tangible reality that this priestly office is not a solo venture. And through the help of the Holy Spirit, we will share this weight and press on to bring those in our care “into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God, and to maturity in Christ.”

Photo: Laura Rowe Photgraphy