Six Men to be Ordained Deacons

You are Invited to the Diaconate Ordination
Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
St. James Cathedral, 215 North Orange Avenue, Orlando

Bishop John Noonan by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate: Luis Baez, Rick Chabot, Jim Ferruzzi, Jerry Hempstead, Jim Spindler and Bill Terneus. The Mass will also be live streamed at

deacon ordination banner 2012

You are Invited to the Diaconate Ordination
Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
St. James Cathedral, 215 North Orange Avenue, Orlando

Bishop John Noonan by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate: Luis Baez, Rick Chabot, Jim Ferruzzi, Jerry Hempstead, Jim Spindler and Bill Terneus. The Mass will also be live streamed at

Read about the six men who will be ordained below:

Rick Chabot

Rick Chabot has a nervous but eager feeling in preparation for one of the biggest days of his life.

“I am going to be a disciple of Christ through the order of the diaconate,” Chabot said. “I feel with absolute certainty that this is what God wants me to do. I am comfortable with that.”

After five years of formation, Chabot and five other men from the Diocese of Orlando will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders as permanent deacons June 9 at St. James Cathedral in Orlando. The men come from various backgrounds, careers and geographic regions, but all have one common bond in their desire to serve the Lord. In addition to Chabot,  the men to be ordained are: Jim Ferruzzi, Jerry Hempstead Jim Spindler, Luis Baez and Bill Terneus.

Each of the six have developed mentally, spiritually, academically and pastorally, said Deacon David Gray, diocesan director of the permanent diaconate. Following the ordination, all six men will serve within their respective parishes in accordance with their pastor or parochial administrator, and each is expected to be involved in ministry outside their parishes.

When asked to discuss why he considered the diaconate, Rick Chabot cited a passage from Matthew 22:14 – “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

“I vowed many years ago to do what it was God wanted me to do,” Chabot said.

Chabot is originally from Dallas, Texas, and served as a pilot for Delta Air Lines for 25 years. Many people at his parish in Texas had asked him to consider becoming a deacon, but with his career and family life he couldn’t make the commitment.

When he moved to Florida in 2005 to become director of aviation for the Orlando Magic, he joined Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando. He volunteered in many aspects, and it didn’t take long to hear that friendly invitation once again: would you consider the diaconate?

“God just wouldn’t leave me alone,” said Chabot, who has served on numerous committees, taught confirmation classes and served as a Minster to the Sick since he joined Holy Family.

Chabot applied and was accepted into the program, and now considers this lifetime commitment an opportunity to live out his baptismal call to discipleship.

“The diaconate is the call to leadership,” Chabot said. “I think that God is calling me to invite others to live out their discipleship.”

Chabot and his wife of 38 years, Debbie, have three children and five grandchildren.

Luis Baez

Luis Baez was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., as a child. He attended Catholic elementary school and following high school joined the U.S. Navy, where he served for four years. He married his wife Cookie in 1974, and after a number of moves settled in Florida.

Baez has worked in a variety of sales positions during his career, but always felt a calling to do more for the Church. A member of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Deltona since 2003, he has served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and Minister to the Sick, and is a third degree Knight of Columbus. He and his wife have also been involved in Marriage Encounter programs and Baptismal preparation.

“I just felt like this was the time,” said Baez, who expects to work with the Right to Life movement and prison ministry as a deacon. “Even when I was in Catholic school, I felt a calling. The deeper I got in my faith, the more I felt the calling.”

Baez and his wife Cookie – who works at St. Peter Catholic Church in Deland – have two children and seven grandchildren, many of whom attend St. Peter Catholic School.

Jim Ferruzzi

Since he was young, Jim Ferruzzi has always had a passion for helping others, through his job, within his family, or even at his parish.

“I always had a desire to serve the Church, as a lay person,” Ferruzzi said.

Ferruzzi is the first deacon to be ordained in the 25-year history of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Winter Springs. After he was asked by the parish’s pastor, Father John Bluett, to consider the diaconate, Ferruzzi discussed with his wife, Donna, if being a deacon could give him more opportunities to serve God and his people. After five years of formation and years of discernment, he believes those opportunities exist.

“I can honestly say that I feel that it is a call from God, to serve in the role of deacon,” Ferruzzi said.

Ferruzzi has taught Confirmation classes and also volunteered at Pathways to Care, a program of Catholic Charities that serves homeless  adults in need of temporary housing in order to recover from an acute medical illness or injury following admission to a medical facility. He will continue to be active in the faith formation of teens and adults during his diaconate ministry.

Originally from Revere, Mass., Ferruzzi has been married to Donna for 33 years. They have three daughters and three grandsons. Professionally, Ferruzzi is a senior consultant for the Central and North regions of Right Management Consultants.

Jerry Hempstead

Jerry Hempstead has traveled around the world during a 30-year career in the parcel shipping and logistics industry. While on a business trip in 1985, he participated in the celebration of Mass one day while at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. That Mass, he said, changed his life profoundly.

“I couldn’t get enough Scripture, theology, prayer,” Hempstead said. “I was on fire.”

Originally from Long Island, N.Y., Hempstead and his family moved to Orlando in 1992 and have been members of Good Shepherd Catholic Church for many years. Hempstead felt called to become a deacon while at Good Shepherd, but couldn’t participate in formation due to his career. After retiring in 2006, he applied to the diaconate program and was accepted.

“I entered the program because God called me to become a part of it,” Hempstead said.

Hempstead has served at Good Shepherd as a lector, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and teacher of sacramental preparation, and is a volunteer at the Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless. He is married to Deborah – a teacher at Good Shepherd Catholic School – and together they have three children, all graduates of Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando.

Jim Spindler

Jim Spindler, a member of Church of the Resurrection in Lakeland, said he felt called to the diaconate because he enjoys serving others.

“I thought about serving the Church during my teen years, and even thought about the priesthood,” Spindler said.

Eventually, Spindler married his wife, Melissa, and they have three daughters whom have attended or currently attend Resurrection Catholic School. His calling to serve God as a deacon came during a retreat at the parish.

“There was a service component as part of our Emmaus Retreat,” Spindler said. “I had felt that calling before, and that talk reawakened the calling.”

Spindler has served his community in various ways. He has served the parish’s young people as a Boy Scout leader and youth minister. He has also served on a parish strategic planning committee and the pastoral council, and is a former Grand Knight for his Knights of Columbus council.

Spindler is a certified professional agronomist, and enjoys talking about God and Jesus Christ while meeting with clients on sales trips he takes around the U.S.

Bill Terneus

Bill Terneus has been employed at General Electric Company for 31 years as a technician, engineer and draftsman. Throughout his career, he has also answered God’s call to evangelize and preach the gospel.

Terneus, who has attended Ascension Catholic Church in Melbourne since 1980, is a member of GE Volunteers, a group of employees dedicated to helping the homeless, children, elderly and others in need. He is also a facilitator for an interdenominational Bible study group for employees.

At Ascension Catholic Church, Terneus has facilitated the parish initiation process for 10 years and ministered to a small Christian community of men one morning a week. But he also said he has long felt a calling to serve God more, and finally decided to answer that calling about six years ago.

“I made up my mind to become a deacon and said, ‘This is my calling,’” said Terneus, a third degree Knight of Columbus. “I wanted to serve God the best way that I possibly could.”

Originally from Bridgeport, W.V., Terneus has been married to his wife, Christy, for 41 years. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren.