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Ten men, three foreign born, ordained to diaconate
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Two men are permanent deacons, eight are in priesthood formation
By John Gleason
More than 800 family, friends and clergy gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Oct. 9 to witness the ordination to the diaconate of 10 men during a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. The men were ordained to serve the Denver Archdiocese.
A sentence from the first reading summed up the call of these men to diaconal ministry, “they shall discharge his obligations and those of the whole community before the meeting tent by serving at the Dwelling” (Num 3:7).
Vested concelebrants for the Mass included Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley, retired Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa.; Msgr. Michael Glenn, rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary; Father Florían Martín-Calama, rector of Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary and Father James Moreno, J.C.D., judicial vicar.
Music was led by Brandon Spence, director of music for the cathedral and the Archdiocesan Chorale. Kathleen MacLean was the organist.
Reflecting the diversity of this ordination class, three of the men originally come from outside the United States—from Nigeria, Poland and Mexico. Two of the men received formation through the archdiocese’s St. Francis School of Theology for Deacons and were ordained permanent deacons: David Peverley, 53 and Joseph Usera, 62. The others were ordained transitional deacons and will continue their priesthood formation at the seminaries of the Denver Archdiocese: Cletus Oluwafemi Omode, 33, and Grzegorz Wojcik, 30 attend Redemptoris Mater while Geronimo Gonzalez-Munoz, 27; Brian Larkin, 30; John Nepil, 27; Gregg Pedersen, 33; and Braden Wagner, 29, attend St. John Vianney. Also ordained was Michael Bodzioch, 53, who is studying for the priesthood at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass.
Deacon Joseph Donohoe, director for deacons, began the ordination rite by calling forward each candidate by name. Archbishop Chaput asked if they were worthy to be ordained and was answered by Bishop Conley.
“Upon the recommendation of those responsible, they are worthy,” he said.
When the archbishop responded, “We choose these, our brothers, for our order of deacons,” the congregation erupted into thunderous applause.
During his homily, the archbishop referred to the second reading (Acts 6:1-7b) about conflict in the early Church, where some believers felt slighted or neglected.
To resolve the situation, the apostles selected several men who were ordained to serve as deacons. The archbishop told the deacon candidates they also would find themselves being sent into situations where they would have to resolve differences.
“Part of your ministry will be to mediate, to help the community move from conflict to peace,” he said. “You must accept this responsibility willingly.”
At the Promise of the Elect, each of the candidates swore obedience to the archbishop and his successors after which they lay prostrate before the altar while the congregation sang the Litany of Supplication. Next, the archbishop laid hands on each of the men, praying over them inaudibly and conferring the diaconal office as they knelt before him.
The newly ordained were then vested with a deacon’s stole and dalmatic and were empowered to preach the Gospel. As the 10 took turns accepting the sacred Scripture, the archbishop gave them their orders.
“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are,” he said. “Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
The newly ordained deacons then received the kiss of peace from the archbishop, followed by the same fraternal greeting from their fellow deacons. All then took their place on the altar and once again, the group was received with a warm round of applause.
Deacons can officiate at baptisms, weddings, wakes and funerals. They can also preach and distribute holy Communion. They cannot consecrate the Eucharist, hear confessions or anoint the sick. Archbishop Chaput noted that one of the gifts of Vatican II was the reinstatement of the permanent diaconate.
At the end of Mass, he thanked the families of all those he had just ordained, making special mention of the wives of the two permanent deacons for the sacrifices they made as their husbands studied for their ministry.
“I want you to thank God and thank them for being deacons,” he told the congregation. “The Lord has been good to us and we’re grateful to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for their love and presence among us.”