Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blessings To and From the New Deacon

Meg and I attended the Ordination Mass of 16 men to the Diaconate in the Diocese of Arlington. One of them was a good friend from our parish, Paul Ochenkowski. This was the second ordination that Meg and I have attended. She and I both love the ritual and ceremony that is involved and, of course, the grace that flows from the Sacrament within the Mass. An Ordination Mass is a beautiful thing in and of itself, but when you know someone who is entering into Holy Orders, it is all the more special. Meg and I both felt that way; it was quite special to see our friend Mr. Ochenkowski become and ordained servant of Our Lord.

This group of 16 men being ordained to the diaconate was not only the largest class ever for the diocese, but it was the first class in 25 years. The program was revamped and modified to ensure proper formation. Under the guidance of Fr. Furgeson, the programs was restored with instructors from within the clergy, Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and other members of the laity.

The joy on the mens' faces was breathtaking. As each one stated their intention and then bowed to make their vow of obedience, receive the laying on of hands and the kiss of peace you could feel the excitement building. And when they took their place prostrate on the altar to show their submission to Christ and to the authority of His Church and dying to self, the solemn litany of the Saints being sung resounded in the Cathedral invoking the prayers of all the Saints for the new servants. It was such a moment of grace, and we who were participating were privileged to be part of it.

from today's ordination courtesy of Arlington Catholic Herald

The congregation was alive in the Spirit. It was as if one voice was praying, one voice was singing, one voice was participating in the Mass. The shear volume of the responses raised the roof off the Cathedral. The Spirit was moving in each and every person participating in the Mass. It was a sight to behold and sound that brought tears of joy to your eyes.

But what really brought tears to my eyes were the wives of the men being ordained. They participated in the Mass by presenting the gifts to the bishop. They were so proud, many of them in tears. They understand what their husbands just did, they gave their lives to Christ. It says in Scripture that men who are called to be deacons can only be married once. (cf. 1 Tim 3:12) I have always deemed this to one of the greatest gifts a man can give his wife. It is a level of fidelity that reaches beyond mere words or emotions. His love for God is so profound that he promises to love Him only, even if his wife should proceed him into eternity. It also shows a great and profound devotion for his wife, to Whom along with God, he has shared his life.

It is in service of Christ and His Church that these men are ordained. So, to see two of the newly ordained deacons prepare the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist was inspiring. Tomorrow each of them will preach the Gospel and offer the homily in their home parishes, assisting in the preparation of the Liturgy of the Eucharist for their friends and neighbors in Christ. What a magnificent work for the parishes to behold; what a witness to Christ calling and men listening!

After the Mass there was a small reception in the hall of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. There the newly ordained deacons were assigned tables to greet their guests. Meg and I were among the first to receive the deacons blessing. Thank you, Paul, it was an honor to receive the blessing of Christ through you! 

God bless all of the men who were ordained:

Mr. Albert Anderson, Jr. -- now Rev. Mr. Albert Anderson, Jr.
Mr. Dale Avery -- now Rev. Mr. Dale Avery
Mr. Alberto Bernaola -- now Rev. Mr. Alberto Bernaola
Mr. Stephen Dixon -- now Rev. Mr. Stephen Dixon
Mr. Thomas Fursman -- now Rev. Mr. Thomas Fursman
Mr. Paul Gregory -- now Rev. Mr. Paul Gregory
Mr. Jose Lopez -- now Rev. Mr. Jose Lopez
Mr. John McClay -- now Rev. Mr. John McClay
Mr. Jeffrey Meyers -- now Rev. Mr. Jeffrey Meyers
Mr. Cong Nguyen -- Rev. Mr. Cong Nguyen
Mr. Paul Ochenkowski -- Rev. Mr. Paul Ochensowski
Mr. William Powers -- Rev. Mr. William Powers
Mr. Joseph Santiago -- Rev. Mr. Joseph Santiago
Mr. Marques Silva -- Rev. Mr. Marques Silva
Mr. John Wagner -- Rev. Mr. John Wagner
Mr. Robert Warner, Jr. -- Rev. Mr. Robert Warner, Jr.


Melissa G said...

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful description of the ordination. I got goosebumps reading this. The picture of them prostrate before the altar- those moments always brings tears to my eyes. How wonderful God has blessed our Diocese with such rich vocations! Do you know where the men will be assigned?

Kathy said...


I don't believe assignments have been announced.


Anne said...

We were so sorry to have missed this in person but your words lighten the disappointment. You describe it and it is as if we were there. We are blessed and excited for these men and their families. Thank you for sharing the day. God bless Paul and all the new deacons!