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Archives Deacon Carter Pierce: ‘God knew what he was doing’

August 2, 2023

By Darcy Fargo

Deacon Carter Pierce says his first assignment since ordination has brought him growth he didn’t expect.

“I’ve certainly been participating in Mass in a new way, especially preaching,” he said. “Father Scott Seymour, the pastor in Morrisonville, Cadyville and Peru, told me I can preach any time he’s on the schedule. I’ve had lots of practice. But that’s brought me into a deeper encounter with scripture in a way even my practice homilies didn’t do. Preaching was one of my biggest anxieties before ordination, and it’s really the grace of ordination that has made it a joy and not as arduous as I thought it would be.”

Deacon Pierce said he’s also enjoyed gaining experience in hospital ministry, a ministry to which he had minimal exposure in seminary due to COVID.

“I had been following Father Scott (Seymour) in hospital ministry, and last Monday, I was able to follow Father Bill Reamer to a nursing home for an anointing,” he said. “It was a beautiful experience. The day after being anointed, the man passed away. Death is sad, but I knew because he had the sacrament, it paved the way toward heaven and the merciful judgment of God. His funeral happened to be in Morrisonville. It was beautiful to be there just before and just after his death. It was a really heartening experience.”

Deacon Pierce said he’s learned a great deal working with Father Seymour and the other priests who serve and live in and around the parish.

“When I got there, Father Leagon (Carlin) was there,” he said. “He’s a close friend, and it was a delight to be with him. After three weeks, he transferred to Massena. Then Father Lukas (Gruber) was assigned here. We started seminary at the same time and in the same place. It’s been great having community with these priests, praying and eating and working with them. I also see Father Bill Gordon, Msgr. (Dennis) Duprey and Father (Francis) Flynn a good bit, too. They’re a lot of fun and a wealth of wisdom.”

Deacon Pierce was preparing to celebrate his first baptism shortly after the interview with the North Country Catholic.

“It’s significant to be the one that welcomes someone into God’s family and to be God’s instrument as he adopts them as a son or daughter,” he said. “What an incredible moment and an incredible privilege.”

The new deacon said he appreciates the opportunity to learn under Father Seymour in parishes with a wide variety of ministries.

“I’m really impressed with how smooth the system is under Father Scott and the staff in the parish,” Deacon Pierce said. “There’s tons of ministry going on in our community.”

In addition to being surprised by the variety of ministry, Deacon Pierce said another aspect of his early diaconate has surprised him, as well.

“Three weeks after ordination and before I started in Morrisonville, Cadyville and Peru, I went to the wedding of a good friend from college,” he said. “It was beautiful. They understood what they were entering into, and they’re grounded in their faith in God. There was so much joy. It was beautiful. It gave me a lot of time to reflect on the beauty of marriage and how it was God’s plan for man and woman to be created in complementary ways. I was able to pray with them and for them. As I was reflecting, it occurred to me that I always wanted to be married and still have an appreciation of that. But as beautiful as it is, I don’t want to give up what I’ve received. Celibacy has been a gift to me. It was hard for me to get to a place of peace with that promise, but I’m grateful I’ve persevered and was carried on by prayers and grace. I would’ve never chosen this for myself, but I’m grateful for the intimacy with God that I’ve experienced in ordained life. That’s such a beautiful gift, and I’d never want to give it up. People think of it as giving something up, but it’s been something I’ve received as a gift. Celibacy has opened my heart to greater love of others and opened my heart to experience God’s love in a deeper way.”

Deacon Pierce says he’s been asked several times if he “feels different” after ordination.

“My only thought when I’m asked that is honestly ‘no,’” he said. “If anything, I feel more free to be myself. This way of life matches who I am. God knew what he was doing when he called me to this.”

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