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Deacon Christian Galvan

To Love as a Father

This is part of an occasional series that looks how young men today are preparing for priesthood. These young men from our local community share personal milestones and special moments from their unique journeys.

Caption: Students from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Land O’ Lakes join Deacon Christian Galvan for LifeTeen Camp at Covecrest in Georgia this past Summer. Courtesy photo.

As a seminarian and transitional deacon, I desire to participate in the supernatural fatherhood that is the priesthood. Our Heavenly Father has introduced me to what it will look like to walk with and help bear the pain of many of his children without being able to remove the burdens themselves.  God showed me what it means to love as a father, most recently during LifeTeen Camp Covecrest in Tiger, Georgia. 

When the opportunity presented itself to accompany the teens from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish last Summer, I jumped at the chance! I was excited to see how the Lord would work in my own ministry and in the lives of the teens. Our week at Covecrest began on a tremendous high note as the teens were warmly welcomed by the LifeTeen missionaries. Every day was filled with prayer, Mass, praise and worship music, invigorating talks, and lots of fun outdoor activities. 

In the middle of the week, the teens were led out to a low-ropes course, including a 14-foot wall that each teen had to scale. This course was meant to challenge them in various ways and to encounter some discomfort, all without the help or intervention from the adults present. It grew increasingly difficult for me to watch frustrations and tensions surface among individuals, which eventually gave way to self-doubt and self-condemnation. In that moment, my heart broke for the teens as I was powerless to provide any comfort or reprieve as they endured their respective struggles. Needless to say, the teens agreed that this was the low point of the week.

Despite the difficulties, the teens remained present for the rest of camp and experienced tremendous consolation as they continued to relate their struggles and their victories to the Lord and to one another. On the last day, they shared “glory stories” about how the Lord worked in their lives. My eyes streamed with many tears when I heard that teens who struggled with a negative self-image found incredible peace and acceptance in the Lord and their parish community.

As profound as it was to hear their graces, I’m even more in awe of how the Lord worked in my own heart. It pained me to stand back and say nothing while people I care about endure hardships and discomfort. Yet, their trials bore such great fruit. I’m sure that any parent that has watched their own child endure hardship is well aware of how much this pains their own hearts. Nevertheless, such heartache is only one burden among the many joys of being a parent.

This remarkable week at Covecrest increased an already inflamed desire in my heart to be a father.  Only through our Father’s grace can we endure hardship together and receive the sweet consolation that comes as a result. May we be attentive to how the Lord is working in our lives, especially in those times when it seems hard or painful, for this is when the Lord is doing some of his best work in us.

To Love as a Father 2

Bishop David Toups, of Beaumont, Texas, ordains Christian Galvan as a transitional deacon on April 2, 2022.

Deacon Galvan is a seminarian of the Diocese of St. Petersburg who was ordained a Transitional Deacon on April 2, 2022. He has been a member of St. Stephen Parish in Riverview since 1990 and he attends St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He attended H.B. Plant High School in Tampa from 2001-2005 and the University of Notre Dame from 2005-2009, graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. After earning his M.B.A. from The University of Tampa in 2011, he worked in civil engineering design, then in construction management (building cell phone towers), while also participating in various lay ministries at his home parish.