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Bishop Loverde welcomes five transitional and three permanent deacons
For the first time since Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde reinstated the permanent diaconate formation program in 2005, transitional and permanent deacons were ordained together in a June 1 ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.
Father Thomas P. Ferguson, diocesan director of diaconate formation, said that the combined ordination was a matter of timing.
“(There were) three men whose formation period was coming to an end the same time that five transitional (deacons) were being ordained,” said Father Ferguson.
Bishop Loverde decided to ordain them all together instead of waiting until next January, the usual time for permanent diaconate ordinations.
The men ordained as transitional deacons were Chris Christenson, Brian McAllister, Mauricio Pineda, Scott Sina and Steven Walker. The new permanent deacons are Paul D’Antonio, Don Libera and J.D. Williams.
Both permanent and transitional deacons are ministers of the word and assist the bishop and the priests. At ordination they become part of the church’s clergy. They assist and preach at Mass, baptize, and preside at weddings and funerals.
Transitional deacons are men in their last year of seminary study on the track to be ordained priests next June. They will serve in parishes throughout the diocese.
The bishop welcomed the men and their families and friends to the ceremony and thanked the congregation for supporting the men in their journey. He spoke of the important place of deacons in the church and that on the last day they will be “welcomed by the Lord as good and faithful servants.”
The rite of ordination occurred after the second reading during the solemn Mass of ordination.
In Chapter 3 of 1 Timothy, the qualities of the deacon are explained..
“Deacons must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.”
The candidates sat with the congregation until they were called by name to the altar by Deacon Albert Anderson, deacon of the call and chairman of the Arlington diaconate council, and presented to the bishop by Father Brian G. Bashista, Arlington diocesan vocations director.
The bishop asked Father Bashista, “Do you know them to be worthy?”
Father Bashista said they were.
Before the candidates are ordained, they must declare their intent to undertake this ministry. After the declaration, the men knelt before the bishop and placed their joined hands between the bishop’s hands and promised obedience.
Then the candidates prostrated themselves before the bishop in a gesture of supplication and dying to self.
Then, each candidate knelt before the bishop who laid hands on the head of each candidate and recited the prayer of ordination.
The newly ordained were vested with stole and dalmatic, or tunic, symbols of the diaconate, and given the Book of the Gospels.
The bishop then gave each man the kiss of peace. Deacons of the diocese processed to the altar to greet each man.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the bishop reminded the congregation that the role of deacon is eternal.
“We priests are also deacons,” said the bishop. “That never goes away.”
The bishop pledged the support of the church for their new ministries and told the men to “go forth with faith, hope and charity.”