By DCN. ARTHUR RORAFF
In a few months I will return to Alaska. It is the bookend of another trip I took five and a half years ago when entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota to begin my formation as a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. As this journey comes to an end it is natural to look back on this blessed time.
One of my most prominent memories is a recent one. In January my class went to Italy for a class in missiology — the study of mission.
The mission of the church is not limited to what the church does in unchurched regions of the world but is actually identical to the grander work of the church to live its mission in every place at every time.
Our trip included visits to some of the chief Vatican offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice. What struck me most was the joyful nature of these offices. While they have a necessary administrative function I was genuinely overwhelmed by how they fulfill their responsibilities in such a prayerful and thoughtful manner.
Our time in Rome concluded with a five-day retreat in Assisi — hometown of Saint Francis. These types of retreats are required by canon law to occur within six months of being ordained a priest. It was a much appreciated break from our academic schedule. The time allowed me to put the past five and a half years into perspective. I was able to reflect on how blessed these years have been and just how magnificently present Christ has been in them. They have had their challenges, for sure, but throughout them I’ve come to see a God who is beyond generous, a God who continually pours his love upon me and the whole world, even when we don’t recognize it immediately.
Finally, I look forward to returning to Alaska, my home, in June. It will be the end of one adventure and the beginning of another.
— Deacon Roraff will be ordained in Anchorage June 19. His first assignment will be as the assistant pastor at St. Andrew Church in Eagle River.