|Deacon Michael Sullivan, LC|
July 2, 2008. Rome, Italy. A total of 5 American
Legionaries were ordained to the diaconate this summer. Three of
them were ordained this past June 29 in Rome: Deacons
Michael Sullivan, Benjamin Cieply, and Kristian Jaloway.
Deacon Michael Sullivan, a
self-described “hockey player at heart,” hails from Edina, Minnesota. He
has been working in the General Directorate in Rome for
the past several years.
Deacon Benjamin Cieply, from
Columbus, Ohio, is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in theology
in Rome while also serving as an assistant to Legionary
brothers who are studying philosophy.
Deacon Kristian Jaloway was born in
Dallas, Texas and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He is currently
the assistant to the instructor of novices, which means he
is helping in the human, apostolic and intellectual formation of
the novices in Gozzano, Italy.
In the interview below, the new
deacons share some of their thoughts as they prepare for
their next step to the priesthood.
You are now a transitional
deacon and will soon be ordained to the priesthood. What
in your formation so far do you think has best
prepared you for this moment?
|Deacon Benjamin Cieply, LC|
Deacon Michael Sullivan, LC: It
has helped me to discover in prayer that the priesthood
is a gratuitous gift of God’s love. The gospel at
the ordination Mass reads: “You did not choose me. I
chose you.” It follows a Psalm. “The Lord is my
shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.” It wasn’t until
I went through some valleys that were not green pastures
and restful waters that I realized how much I relied
on the Shepherd.
What kind of a priest do you dream
Deacon Benjamin Cieply, LC: I want to be
a HOLY priest, faithful until the end. Ever since I
was a child I have dreamed about becoming a priest.
And what a great time to become a priest! A
few years ago, someone asked me if I were now
reconsidering my “career” in the Church due to the recent
scandals. I answered that, on the contrary, the current situation
in society and the Church was precisely a motivation to
be a HOLY priest. I feel the calling, with God’s
grace, to help restore the dignity of this extraordinary vocation.
What do you think is the essence of
the Catholic priesthood?
Deacon Kristian Jaloway, LC: To be another
Christ: a bridge between men and God, to be walked
on, gotten dirty, but to bring many people to heaven.
|Deacon Kristian Jaloway, LC|
Aside from Christ and Our Lady, who in your life
has most encouraged and helped you to reach this moment?
Deacon Kristian Jaloway, LC: Without ever saying a word, my
former pastor, who passed away last year. And then my
superiors, who have had so much patience with me, have
always been there to encourage and motivate, and have entrusted
me with the formation of future Legionary priests.
could thank your parents for something precious they gave you
to help you reach this moment, what would it be?
Deacon Benjamin Cieply, LC: I thank my parents because they
have walked this journey with me, and therefore I have
never felt alone. The parental vocation is intimately united to
that of their children, and I believe a young man’s
vocation to the priesthood is never separate from the specific
vocation of the parents to help their son reach the
INTERVIEW WITH THE PARENTS OF THE NEW DEACONS
ever think one of your sons would become a Catholic
Judy Sullivan: I never thought that Michael would be
a priest. Michael was a typical teenager with all the
|Benjamin Cieply, LC, greeting a model of the Catholic priesthood: Pope Benedict XVI|
typical teenager inclinations. There were troubled times, caring times, mischief,
and moments to melt my heart. I never really considered the
priesthood a possibility, but, unbeknownst to me, he did.
Cieply: When Benjamin was just 3 ½ years old, he
was wearing his bright red, ankle-length “Superman” cape when we
were on an outing to the grocery store. The check-out
clerk was quite taken with his outfit and enthusiasm and,
with a smile, she asked him if wanted to be
Superman when he grew up. Benjamin stood up very straight,
put his hands on his sides, looked squarely at the
clerk and said in a very convincing voice “No, I’m
going to be a PRIEST!”
What have you learned from
the experience of having a Legionary son so far? What
have been some of the greatest joys and sorrows?
The experience of having our son in the Legion has
taught me more than anything to trust in God’s plan.
We prayerfully believed that Benjamin’s entering the Legion’s apostolic school
at age 16 was what was best for him at
the time, but we really knew very little about minor
seminaries or what might be involved in the preparation for
|Benjamin Cieply, LC with his parents in St Peter’s Square.|
a priestly vocation. And so it was truly God’s grace
that we were open to His plan in our lives
and He carried us through that time of “letting go”
and provided peace for us as we embarked on our
journey down such an unfamiliar road. Benjamin’s “yes” to God
was really our “yes” too, even though we didn’t fully
realize it at the time.
We soon discovered that the Legion
provided a wholesome and open atmosphere where Benjamin could grow
and mature in his vocation. The Legion always fostered our
good judgment, involvement, and consultation from the very beginning, and
we realized our vital role as parents in our prayer,
protection, and support of our son’s vocation. Even though we
were physically separated, we realized that we could all be
united in Christ and the Eucharist. Our consolation has been
to witness the joy he shows in living his vocation!
word of advice have you given to your son for
his future priesthood?
Barb Jaloway: I have told Kristian that Jesus
cannot be outdone in generosity, that he should stay very
close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed
Sacrament, and that the Church is a priceless gift. Even
when you see sin in those in charge, just love
and sacrifice more for our precious Holy Mother Church. I
have also asked him to pray for us and to
offer the Mass for us.
Dan Jaloway: I have told him
to make sure, as best he can, that it’s his
path so that once he gets ordained, that’s it; there’s
no reneging after the fact. Up to the very day
of ordination, he’s free to decide otherwise. And then to
|Michael Sullivan, LC, in his boyhood glory days.|
feel very happy, safe and secure in his decision and
become the best priest ever so that he obtains Heaven.
I have also asked him to say a lot of
Masses for me to help me get to heaven also.
Cieply: Perhaps the best advice we have given is the
example of our own lives. As I said, my wife
and I are very active members of Regnum Christi. Ben
has told us before that our example has been an
inspiration for him.
Deacons Michael Sullivan, Kristian Jaloway, and Benjamin
Cieply, LC, will be ordained to the priesthood on December
20 at the basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls
in Rome. All are welcome to attend.