My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
A few weeks ago, I asked you to stop whatever you were doing and fold your hands in prayer to praise God for two new priests, Father Joseph Tran and Father Zackary Gray, who serve in the Diocese of Orlando. Today, I ask you to again stop and give praise to God for the 18 men who will be ordained to the Order of the Permanent Diaconate. These men and their families have prayed to God to discern their call and have willingly offered their service to God, as those about whom we have recently read in the Acts of the Apostles. Within their family activities, their employment, and make-up of daily living, they and their families purposely found the time to study and prepare for this holy day of the Sacrament of Ordination. It is fitting that they will be ordained on the Memorial of Saint Barnabas, following in the footsteps of the first disciples who went out among the people to bear the Good News to them.
The men of the early Church did not find their ministry without derision or persecution. Many were rejected and martyred because of their teaching about Jesus Christ. Yet, they prevailed because of their great belief, infused by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The 18 deacons ordained also will minister in a world of disbelief; a world that will persecute them for their holding fast to the Catholic faith; a world in which they will encounter derision for their loving one another as God loves us.
These deacons are the shining armor of our faith. Yes, you see them on the altar, proclaiming the Gospel, sometimes offering a homily, or assisting during the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ. In this way, they are the visible signs of the summit of our faith, as they recognize they are not complete without the Eucharist, their source of nourishment for all time.
From the altar of the sanctuary of the Lord, they, with humble charity, lead us to ministry throughout the earth. From the early Church to the formal establishment of the permanent diaconate theirs has been to serve the needy, the hungry, the lonely, and all those in-between. They embody the corporal and spiritual works of mercy by their daily rising. They meet you, the people of God, offering you sight of a deeper relationship with God, like St. Paul, St. Stephen, St. Barnabas offered to the early Church.
We pray for them that they are effective in action, gentle in ministry, and constant in prayer. We ask God to abound in them every Gospel virtue: unfeigned love, concern for the sick and poor, unassuming authority, the purity of innocence, and the observance of spiritual discipline so that God’s commandments shine forth in their conduct.
One of the most profound prayers of the Ordination Rite is the Handing on the Book of Gospels to each Ordinand. Our prayer is, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” These words are the foundation of the ministry of the Permanent Diaconate.
The permanent Diaconate is an important enrichment for the mission of the Church. The ordained deacons are an offer of hope, solidly rooted in the love of God to lead you to be people of faith and peace. They are the arms and legs of our triune God to journey with you in faith, to carry you in times of sorrow, to open your eyes to see God’s desire to be united to each one of you, as a body and individually, that you receive the gift of grace as a dwelling place of God.
As we celebrate together the central mystery of our faith, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them, let us praise our triune God for these men who have been called by the Father to serve in communion with His only begotten Son through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that
Julio A. Basabe Mendoza
Joseph Samuel Bellissimo
Michael Robert Bradica
Jason Bruce Bulman
Gerardo De Jesús López
Richard David Ferris
José Ignacio Galarza
Gregory Gerard Kapral
Frank Joseph Nicsinger
James Daniel Oates
Joseph Anton Pecko
Jairo Rosario Juarbe
Javier Emilio Sacco Pérez
Jesús Roberto Suárez Hernández
Gary Quentin Tester
Ralph Gaffud Turingan
Thomas Phillip Warwick
will lead you well as they walk in faith to serve Jesus’ commandment, “love one another as I love you.”
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.