Seminarian Rafael Ghattas becomes a transitional deacon on May 22

Seminarian Rafael Ghattas, pictured here during a mission trip to Guatemala, will be ordained into the transitional diaconate on May 22. (Provided)

MYRTLE BEACH—Seminarian Rafael Ghattas will be ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 22 at St. Andrew Church. 

Thanks to the coronavirus, Ghattas and some of the other diocesan seminarians were sequestered in Charleston to continue their studies during the quarantine. They also helped serve at Masses in the Chapel of the Holy Family at the Pastoral Center, which were celebrated by their vocations director, Father Matthew Gray. 

Ghattas said it was a wonderful experience to actually get to know the other young men because they would not have had that opportunity in normal times. He took on the sometimes technically frustrating task of livestreaming Masses on Facebook and YouTube for the diocese from the chapel. But he took it in stride.

He was also grateful to spend time with Father Gray.

“It really helps to live with a priest who goes to the chapel every three hours and prays,” he said. “Now I start to feel it if I do not pray every so often during the day.”

Though he has no hesitations about his path and becoming a transitional deacon, Ghattas said he is also scared to his bones because of his human frailty.

“You know yourself, you know your weaknesses,” he explained. “You know you are full of vices, but you really want to be a good priest.”

“I wish God can make a good priest out of me. He has lots of work to do,” he said, laughing.

Ghattas, 33, said his parents are devout Catholics and they set the example for their children. He is one of four: three sisters and one younger brother, Michael. His sister, Martha, is a cloistered Incarnate Word sister in Rome. She’s allowed to Skype her family once a month. 

Ghattas said he became very close to his brother while they were both in seminary. Though Michael is taking time off for further discernment, big brother said everyone has a thirst and God will fill it if he chooses to allow Him.

“A vocation is a choice. You choose to do this for God,” he explained.

Read more about his ordination in the June 4 edition of The Miscellany.