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Wives, families witness ordination of eight men to the diaconate
WATCH ORDINATION RECORDING:
HOW DO I KNOW IF GOD'S CALLING ME?
LIFE AS A DEACON:
By John Gleason
The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was filled with family, friends and clergy on June 25 to witness the ordination of eight men to the diaconate.
Seven of the men—Matthew Archer, Charles Hahn, Steven Hinkle, Timothy Kelly, Jerome Kraft, Christopher Pomrening and Johnie Riviera—were ordained to serve the Archdiocese of Denver. One of the men—Colin Coleman—was ordained for the Community of the Beatitudes, a Catholic community that includes consecrated and lay members.
As the choir from Light of the World Parish sang “We Are Your People,” a Knights of Columbus honor guard led the entrance procession, which included two dozen priests, more than 50 deacons and the eight men who were to be ordained.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., was the ordaining prelate. Mass concelebrants included Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley; cathedral pastor Msgr. Thomas Fryar, Vicar for Clergy Msgr. Bernard Schmitz and St. John Vianney Theological Seminary rector Father Michael Glenn.
As the Rite of Ordination began, the deacon candidates were called forward by Deacon John Smith, director of formation for St. Francis School of Theology for Deacons, who then asked Archbishop Chaput that the men be ordained to the responsibility of the diaconate.
When the archbishop inquired about the worthiness of the candidates, Deacon Smith responded, “I testify that they have been found worthy.”
|Photos by James Baca/DCR
Men who were ordained to the diaconate June 25 smile as the congregation applauds during their ordination Mass in the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.
“Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Chaput said, “we choose these, our brothers, for the order of the diaconate.”
The congregation erupted into applause.
During his homily the archbishop spoke about the sacrament of holy orders and how an integral part of the ordination rite is the laying on of hands.
“This is a gesture of passing on, or entrusting to the next generation of ministers, the apostolic ministry of the Church, which we have received from the apostles,” he said.
A clergy rank of the Church in Apostolic times, the diaconate eventually became a preliminary step toward ordination to the priesthood. While it still serves this purpose for men who will become priests, in 1967 the diaconate was restored as a permanent rank of holy orders.
During the promise of the elect, each candidate swore to faithfully discharge the office of deacon with humility. Then each came forward, in turn, and knelt before the archbishop to swear obedience and respect. Next, the men lay prostrate while the congregation chanted the Litany of Supplication over them. After the laying on of hands and Prayer of Ordination, each of the eight men were vested in stole and dalmatic and received the Book of Gospels.
“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become,” said Archbishop Chaput. “Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
Following the kiss of peace and welcome from their fellow deacons, the new deacons then turned and were met with thunderous applause from the congregation.
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.
The wives of the newly ordained deacons took part in the Mass by serving as lectors and presenting the offertory gifts.
All the newly ordained deacons have been assigned to serve the Denver Archdiocese.
At the end of the Mass, a final round of applause filled the church as the newly ordained deacons processed out. In Mary’s Garden outside the church, friends and family members came together to offer congratulations and, in some instances, shed happy tears at the accomplishment that had been achieved. Deacon Hahn’s wife Claudia took time out from greeting guests to share with the Denver Catholic Register her thoughts about the formation journey.
|Photos by James Baca/DCR
Deacon-elects lay prostrate during the Litany of Supplication June 25, 2011.
“This is what you work for, what you look forward to,” she said. “There’s joy that is present in the journey of discernment—and a little doubt as well. But when you see it all come together like this, all you can think of is what a joyous day it is.”
Deacon Hinkle’s spouse Terri agreed that the formation journey can be a challenging one.
“The men are constantly looking to strike balance in their lives—for family as well as for the Church,” she said. “The support that comes from the family is key to success. The journey through formation couldn’t happen without it.”
Deacon Coleman’s wife Maria summed up by simply giving thanks to God for her husband, her family and the ordination celebration.
“It’s all due to His grace,” she said, motioning to the newly ordained deacons. “If it weren’t for that, none of this would be possible.”
Past News Coverage:
Press Release: click here.
Interviews with the Ordained [click on each name below]:
These interviews occured in the weeks prior to their ordination.