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26 ordained to permanent diaconate

Deacons stand at the foot of the altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to receive the Book of Gospels during their ordination Mass May 31. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

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SOUTH END -- Twenty-six men were ordained to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 31.

The new deacons are: Thomas Anthony, Robert F. Breen, Gregory J. Burch, Jesus Castillo, Anthony J. Constantino, Joseph M. Fagan, Jr., Charles A. Ferraro, Richard P. Field, Jr., David R. Ghioni, Frederick B. Horgan, Alejandro Iraola, Pedro LaTorre, Brian Laws, Michael Markham, Francis McHugh, Michael Mott, Van Nguyen, Jorge A. Patino, Jose Perez-Rodrigues, Victor R. Rivero, Manuel A. Rosario, Edwin J. Robinson, Jr., Neil J. Sumner, James G. Theriault, Julio C. Vargas and Edin Velasquez. Deacon Alfredo Nieves was ordained at a special ceremony on Dec. 23, 2007.

The ordination began with the Liturgy of the Word, which was followed by the rite of ordination.

The ceremony was a bi-lingual service since nine of the ordinandi are Spanish-speakers. The first reading was in English, the second in Spanish and the Gospel was read in both languages. While delivering most of his homily in English, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley also addressed the nine men in their native tongue.

He said in Spanish that the disciples’ inheritance was the Lord, and they gave up everything for him. Jesus Christ called them to an intimate relationship with him and asked them to follow in his footsteps, he said.

Speaking in English, Cardinal O’Malley said it is a great challenge to follow in the footsteps of the “greatest servant in the world.”

Like Philip in the Gospel, the men are called to proclaim the good news about Jesus, he said.

The cardinal told the men, “The Spirit will act through your words and actions as you preach and baptize.”

Then, he called on the ordinandi to be good and faithful servants and to be content to do “difficult things in an unassuming way.”

“To be a real deacon, one must have the desire to serve with all that implies -- hard work, a healthy dose of humility, a sense of loyalty and an identification with the one whom we serve,” he said. “Ordination is a gift from God to those who are willing to make a gift of themselves.”

As the rite of ordination continued after the homily, the two men who are not married -- Alejandro Iraola and Manuel Rosario -- made a commitment to celibacy. After his ordination, a permanent deacon cannot marry.

Then, each candidate individually approached Cardinal O’Malley who was seated in front of the altar. They affirmed their intention to serve as deacons with a “deepened spirit of prayer” and made a promise of obedience to the cardinal and his successors.

The ordinandi lay prostrate during the Litany of Saints, which was followed by the laying on of hands -- the moment in which the Holy Spirit is conferred by the bishop and the deacon is ordained.

Next, the deacons were vested with the stole and dalmatic, which signify the office of diaconate and the deacon’s role in the celebration of the Eucharist, and they were presented with the book of the Gospels. At the kiss of peace, the newly ordained greeted each other and other clergy members.

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