Diaconate Ordination 2018

Diaconate Ordination 2018

St. Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of works of charity, once said that “Our Vocation is to go and enflame the hearts of men.” As a saint totally dedicated to service, it was fitting that on a sunny September morning in Rome on the feast of this selfless saint, forty men were ordained to the transitional diaconate. With the joy of the Gospel alive in their own hearts—the men now look eagerly to bring the Good News to a Church yearning for the life-giving word of Jesus. The passing on of the diaconate marks a pinnacle of their growth through formation at the Pontifical North American College, allowing the pruning of seminary formation to begin to bear fruit in ordained service.

The momentous week began the Sunday prior with a family Mass at the seminary’s Immaculate Conception Chapel: the central place where quiet hours of intimate prayer and countless sacramental graces had strengthened the souls of these men in preparation for their mission. After taking in the panoramic view from the roof of the seminary tower, families and friends were guided by the men around the Eternal City. Cobblestone paths led travelers to many marbled marvels etched into Rome’s edifices. None were more memorable than the stairs descending to the bones of Saint Peter himself, just above which the men prostrated themselves in submission to God’s grace.

Ordination day brought large groups from a multitude of dioceses across the United States and Australia to witness the bold promises of service to Christ’s Church made by this particularly large class of men. The Mass began as a streaming procession of visiting deacons, priests and bishops made their way solemnly to the altar. It was a proud moment for the College’s Rector, Fr. Peter Harman, as he thanked those participating at Mass and introduced the principal celebrant, His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo encouraged and challenged the soon to be deacons through his rousing words. His main point: deacons are “ordained for charity.” In the moments before their ordination he told the forty men, “every obstacle is an opportunity.” This was true for the Apostles in the first years of the Church and still rang true for the men today. Retracing the words of Saint Augustine, he challenged the soon to be deacons to “pour out the chalice for the people of God and to pour out your own lives in the same way.” The way to be faithful to this call is to abide in Jesus, the Cardinal stressed: “In this you will have joy and bear much fruit.”

Caption: Deacon Greg Crane from the Diocese of Bismarck places his hands between those of Cardinal DiNardo as he makes his promise of obedience.

Following the ordination liturgy, the new deacons joined their loved ones at the College for a reception.