December 16, 2012

For Gwen

My friend Gwendollynn Santiago was ordained to the priesthood yesterday at Pittsburgh’s Trinity Cathedral. Charles Hamill, Terence Johnston, John Schaeffer, and Todd Schmidtetter were ordained at the same service, the first ordination presided over by our new bishop, Dorsey McConnell. (I took my camera to the service but decided to let Andy Muhl document the event with his much better equipment. You can see his photos here. The photo below is courtesy of Andy.)

As I have often done, I wrote a poem in honor of Gwen’s ordination. (My other ordination poems can be read here, here, here, and here.) These poems often reflect the troubled context of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Gwen’s poem, reproduced below, is no exception. I pray that my next such poem need make no allusions to what the recently retired Harold Lewis called “the recent unpleasantness.”

For Gwen
by Lionel Deimel

A priesting in our diocese
Is now a time of joy
Devoid of worries for those things
A bishop would destroy.

Each priest can now be healer,
Evangelist and friend,
A comforter and confidant
On whom one can depend.

The troubles of a broken world
That lately filled the news
We’ll contemplate another day
And file into our pews,

For Gwen today becomes a priest
Who’ll help mend what’s been rent,
She’ll do her work with grace and love,
Enlarging God’s big tent.

New priests with bishop: (L to R) the Rev. Charles Brent Wagner Hamill,
the Rev. Gwendollynn Gettemy Santiago, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell,
the Rev. Terence Lee Johnston, the Rev. Todd Thomas Schmidtetter,
and the Rev. John Robert Schaeffer


  1. A nice note and poem, Lionel. These five are a gift and a blessing.

  2. Perfect. Thanks for sharing it, Len


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