Michael Cronin ready for ordination
By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
With the fast-approaching ordination to the transitional diaconate, he will do just that at 10 a.m. on June 7 when Bishop Walker Nickless ordains him and Brian Feller at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
“I am very excited. I began the application process with the diocese in 2008. After many years of prayer and discernment, studies and preparation, it's hard to believe that my ordination is so close,” Cronin said.
The son of Joe and Peg Cronin of Holstein, the seminarian has three siblings: Shelley, David and Mark.
“I feel I am ready for the task. Seminary has helped me develop many of the skills I will need for ordained ministry,” he said. “There are many clergy who have been role models for me and have demonstrated what it means to have the heart of Christ in ordained ministry. The support and wisdom of the seminary community will also ease the transition into ordained ministry.”
A student at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Ind., Cronin noted seminary studies have helped him grow in and deepen his relationship with God.
“This has happened through my studies, through meetings with my spiritual director, and through the witness and support of all those in the seminary community who are pursuing God together,” he said. “A deepened relationship with God has shown me both how much God is doing through me and how active the Holy Spirit is in my life.”
With the new diaconal ministry, Cronin looks forward to preaching. Writing homilies, he noted, has provided him a great opportunity to understand Scripture better and see how the Word of God speaks to people today.
“I think getting to work more closely with priests in parish ministry will also better prepare me for both diaconal and priestly ministry,” said Cronin, whose ordination to the priesthood is planned for next summer.
Deacons, he noted, have several ministerial opportunities at seminary. They preach at Mass, preside at prayer and Eucharistic adoration and have led seminarian prayer groups.
He will also minister at St. Mary Church in Ireland, Ind., where he will preach one weekend a month and have opportunities to assist with the sacraments and Bible studies.
“My time in seminary has shown me that in any other vocation I would feel incomplete - like something was missing,” Cronin acknowledged. “It is through the priesthood that I will experience the fullest beauty of who I am and of the blessings that God wants to give me.”
He explained the foundation of diaconal ministry is loving service to the poor, sick and oppressed. As his ordination approaches, Cronin said he has been reflecting on the ways he is and is not living with the heart of a true deacon.
Cronin expressed gratitude for all of the prayers.
He remembers one day in seminary when he was in a really bad mood; suddenly he found himself lighter, happier and more optimistic. He wondered what had happened, and a little voice in his head said, "Somebody said a prayer for you." Prayers work, he stressed.
“I don't think my family and friends could be any more supportive than they have been, and their faith and love for Christ continues to be a witness for me. I cannot name all of the priests who have had a positive impact through this process. I once had a friend who said, ‘God gives us the priest that we need when we need him,’” Cronin said.
He said he would be always grateful for the staff of his seminary, who have helped him to grow as he experienced highs and lows and he identified his strengths and weaknesses.
“I am often amazed at how many of my life experiences have prepared me in some way for the priesthood, even though I may not have always been aware of it at the time,” Cronin said. “Seeing how the Holy Spirit has acted in my life as I've studied for the priesthood has reaffirmed me in my vocational call.”
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