Prostrate on the floor, facing the High Altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, while listening to the choir sing the litanies typical of an ordination, “Santa Maria, Pray for us…” in that atmosphere full of spiritual mystery, with tears in my eyes I asked myself, How did I get here? Yes, I was receiving Ordination to the Diaconate. I was giving my life to the service of others, to the service of God.
Without a doubt, this has been one of the most emotional and spiritual moments of my life, and between unanswered questions, the paternal figure of my dear grandfather came to me. In him was the answer to my questions. He had been, since I was very little, the person who sowed within me the vocational seed that Cardinal O’Malley, laying his hands on my head, would make a reality at that moment. “Everything you taught me, Dear Grandpa, the Cardinal would now reap for God.”
I remember, Grandpa, seeing your blue eyes from which an inexplicable sweetness flowed. In them, I could see that there was life, joy and plenty of love. With all that love expressed on your face you sat me on your lap and taught me with your own hands to make the Sign of the Cross. You told me about the Love of God. You taught me to love Him above all things. You were the one who explained the Commandments to me for the first time in my life. Most beautiful of all, though, you showed me, through your life testimony, how to be a servant. “He who is the greatest of you, be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
On that beautiful day in September, thirteen men gave their lives to the service of God. The most beautiful thing that I could learn from that magical day is that each of us, who were giving our lives to God, had had a different encounter with God; each one had heard the vocational call in a different way, each one had responded to God with his own words. Some did not even know, before beginning their training, four years ago, what it meant to be a Deacon.
God calls each of us by our own name and this means that God’s call is personal. Although my grandfather trained me in the faith from a very young age, others receive their training in different ways, perhaps through their job, a brother, a friend, a father, a mother, or even a son or daughter. What I am most sure of is that God is calling us every day to serve Him. God has given each one of us special gifts that He wants us to discover so that, by doing so, we can put them at His service. I felt His call to the Diaconate, throughout my grandfather’s life. To you I ask, in what way is God calling you? Do you listen to Him? Do you let Him talk to you?
God is speaking to us daily; we are the ones who do not know how to listen to him and sometimes we do not want to hear him. My grandfather always told me, “If you want to listen to God, the first thing is to have a heart available to Him and learn to listen to Him in simplicity.” Speak Lord, your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:10)
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Deacon Franklin came to know Christ as a child thanks to his grandfather, Nicasio Mejía. Nicasio introduced Franklin to the spiritual life and the doctrine of the Catholic faith. Because of this, Franklin was a very active member of the Salesian youth groups in his community from a very young age and, as he grew older, he received training to become a youth leader.
Upon arriving in the United States, Franklin worked for the Hispanic Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston organizing sports tournaments, youth leadership training programs, and an outreach ministry dedicated to visiting youth in prison. Deacon Franklin’s passion for evangelization led him to Catholic Television, where he was the host and producer of “Good News.” His desire to evangelize through the media was inspired by Pope John Paul II, who encouraged the Church to use all media to present Christ to others.
Ordained in 2014, Deacon Franklin was assigned to Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden and he continues his work at the Catholic Television Network, Boston in charge of the production of The Holy Mass.
He has been happily married to his wife, Wendy, for 18 years and they are the proud parents of Gabriel Andres, 17 and Isabella María, 13.