On November 30, 2013, seminarian Nathanael Block was ordained to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Gallup.
Block, now in his last year of seminary, will be ordained a priest next Spring. It is to this eventuality that the term “transitional diaconate” refers – a transitional deacon is a man who has attained the order of a deacon as a final step before becoming a priest.
The ordination took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup, with Block’s family and many friends in attendance, along with all but one of the Diocesan seminarians.
“It was incredible, joy-filled weekend, but it all seemed a little unreal at the time,” said Block. “I have to say, I appreciate Bishop Wall’s final – and private – exhortation to me right before the ordination: that I shouldn’t be too worried about the details of the Mass, but should enter into the Liturgy with as much of a spirit of prayer and self-offering as possible.”
Upon being ordained and receiving the vestments of a deacon during the liturgy, Block embraced and served alongside other Diocesan deacons, joining them in rank for the first time. During the liturgy, he assisted Bishop James Wall at the Altar.
“I’m reminded of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. What we offer by ourselves is so small and insignificant, but in the Hands of Christ it has great value and through His Grace does great good,” said Block. “I think that sums up my diaconate fairly well. I am meant to constantly return to the Hands of Christ, through the Diocese, the Bishop, and the Church Universal or my ministry will remain flat.”
Block’s journey to the priesthood started with the vocation of his sister, who joined the Dominican Sisters of Mary in the Diocese of Phoenix. Before Bishop James Wall was named to the episcopacy, his parish in the Diocese of Phoenix happened to be the one to which the Sisters were assigned. At the Mass where his sister took her final vows, Block was a server, and first met then-Fr. James Wall.
All this time Block had been considering his own call to the priesthood. After Wall was named Bishop for the Diocese of Gallup, the connection had been made, and Block became a seminarian for the Diocese.
Now, less than a year away from priestly ordination, Block said that he feels incredible – overwhelmed and humbled all at once.
“God is so Good. I can’t wait to a priest, and am especially blessed to be serving in Gallup, NM. There is a great and beautiful Faith here among the people, and very long roots in Catholicism. To quote the 19th century French preacher Lacodaire:
‘To live in the midst of the world without wishing its pleasures; To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none; To share all suffering; to penetrate all secrets; To heal all wounds; to go from men to God and offer Him their prayers; To return from God to men to bring pardon and hope; To have a heart of fire for Charity, and a heart of bronze for Chastity; To teach and to pardon, console and bless always. My God, what a life; and it is yours, O priest of Jesus Christ.'”