BOSTON — The 16 men ordained to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 9 were encouraged by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley to create unity in their parishes.
“From the very origins of the diaconate in the New Testament the deacons have the special role in fermenting unity in the Church,” he told the men during the ordination Mass homily. “The Holy Spirit guided the Church to form the diaconate to help to bridge differences and to bring about unity among God’s people.”
The men ordained are Deacons John A. Brent, Francis B. Dello Russo, Paul A. Dow, George M. Gabriel, James F. Greer, Martin W. Henry, John A. Hulme, Jr., Augustine J. Hwang, Paul A. Lewis, Williams F. Maloney, Daniel C. Nelson, Hon H. Nguyen, Christopher P. Reilly, Carl M. Roberts, Jr., Guy C. St. Sauveur and Richard Seibert, Sr.
In his homily, Cardinal O’Malley painted a picture of deacons throughout Church history being called to a life of sacrifice and dedication. Deacons must be living examples of the virtues of love, humility, generosity and obedience. They must be good husbands and fathers as well as “heralds of the Sacrament of Marriage,” especially now when the family is in crisis, he said.
In order to do all of these things, they must first cultivate an intimate relationship with Christ and be men of prayer, he added.
“You are called to be intimate friends with the Bridegroom,” he said. “We need deacons who love the Lord and the Church with enthusiasm.”
Deacons must also be servants of the Word, studying Scripture to know God’s words and voice so that they can assist their parishioners.
“Never miss the opportunity to teach the truths of the Catholic faith in season and out of season,” he said. “We need a new apologetics today to help our Catholic people embrace our faith deeply in the face of incessant attacks in our contemporary society. Never waiver in your continuing formation. It will help you to address the difficult questions that trouble our people today.”
Cardinal O’Malley prayed that the deacons would be “like that faithful servant in the Gospel, always ready, always awake with that sense of urgency to be what you are called to be.”
He speculated that the deacons had chosen that Gospel reading in part because they lost a member of their diaconate class, William Reed, on June 30 this year.
“Death has helped us to focus on this reality. We are pilgrims,” the cardinal said. “We are not here forever. We must use this time well.”
“Our joy is tempered by a sense of loss,” he added.
Although Reed did not make it to his ordination, his formation in the diaconate program helped prepare him for the journey to heaven. All of the faithful are on the same journey, he said.
Each of the 16 men who were ordained carried a stone with the inscription “Bill” in memory of Reed, according to Deacon Greer.
They chose a stone because during the four years of their formation, Reed was regularly assigned to speak on days when the liturgy of the hours reading (1 Peter 2) was about the “Living Stone,” he said.
The rite of ordination to the order of deacon began during the Liturgy of the Word. After the Gospel reading the men to be ordained were called forward and elected by the cardinal. Next Cardinal O’Malley gave the homily, which was followed by the examination of each man through a series of questions. The men then promised respect and obedience to the cardinal and his successors.
After all the men completed these steps, they lay prostrate in the sanctuary while the congregation prayed the litany of saints. Their ordinations were complete after each man again approached the cardinal who imposed his hands on him and proclaimed a prayer of consecration.