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October 26, 2015 | Volume 90 Number 26

ARTICLES

photo: Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo prepares to celebrate the Ordination Mass of 14 deacons at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on October 17.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo prepares to celebrate the Ordination Mass of 14 deacons at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on October 17.

“Hard work, prayer and sacrifice”

In his first official act as diocesan Vicar for Clergy, Father Timothy Kuhneman welcomed the congregation of those who had gathered Oct. 17 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for the ordination of 14 men to the Diaconate.

“Hard work, prayer and sacrifice have made this day possible,” Father Kuhneman said just before the Processional began with the hymn “Lord, You Give the Great Commission.”

After introducing the 14 candidates, who were seated next to their wives, each stood as their name was called. The Vicar for Clergy declared that the men had completed four years of study and formation and asked that Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo ordain them as deacons who would assist with ministry in their respective parishes.

photo: Three parts to the Ordination of a Deacon: 1. the Promise of Obedience, (Charles Louis Mugnolo) 2. Laying on of Hands (Chris James Finocchio, Jr.) and receiving the Book of the Gospels, (Donatus Iheukwumere Amaram).
Three parts to the Ordination of a Deacon: 1. the Promise of Obedience, (Charles Louis Mugnolo) 2. Laying on of Hands (Chris James Finocchio, Jr.) and receiving the Book of the Gospels, (Donatus Iheukwumere Amaram).

“We choose these, our brothers, to the order of diaconate,” Bishop DiLorenzo responded. His declaration was met with loud and prolonged applause from the congregation.

Pointing out in his homily that the 14 men had already been active in ministry, Bishop DiLorenzo said that “these men have been inspired and motivated to embrace more responsibilities” and that “they choose this because they feel they have been called by the Lord.”

The new deacons are very much needed, the Bishop asserted, and in the role of deacon will be present “at the key moments of one’s life.”

Such moments will include baptism and meeting young people who come to the parish for preparation for marriage.

While these men are ordained at a time when America is becoming less religious, there is a weakening morality and many signs of poverty among people, Bishop DiLorenzo said. Their status as deacons will enable them to help and challenge others. Although the new deacons will not likely give direct service to the poor, they can still can play a vital role in helping others, he added.

“You can do something about it by talking to the people who can do something about it,” Bishop DiLorenzo said. “You have opportunities to encourage and motivate those who can.

“You are a leader in our Church and you have something to offer.”

The Bishop specifically cited the problems of poverty for people living in cities and southwest Virginia.

“People can’t afford housing because they have no money to buy or even rent a house,” he said. “They simply don’t have it.”

Bishop DiLorenzo drew a comparison of the new deacons with Peter the Apostle who in speaking to the fishermen inspired them “to throw and cast their nets. They were surprised at what they caught.”

photo: Fourteen deacons lay prostrate before the altar of Sacred Heart Cathedral during their ordination. (Photo By Catholic Virginian Staff)

Fourteen deacons lay prostrate before the altar of Sacred Heart Cathedral during their ordination. (Photo By Catholic Virginian Staff)

“Take the net and cast it one more time,” the Bishop said to the newly ordained deacons. “You’ll be surprised at what you catch.

“I wish you all the best.”

As a sign of their humility and total service and assuming the ancient posture of supplication, the candidates prostrated themselves while the Litany of Saints was sung. The symbolism is dying to the old self and rising.

Other parts of the ordination liturgy included the Laying on of Hands, Prayer of Ordination, investiture with stole and Dalmatic, worn only by deacons, and Handing on of the Book of the Gospels.

photo: The pews were full of well-wishers, friends and family. With road closures in the Fan District surrounding the Cathedral, parking outside was as challenging as finding a seat inside the church.

The pews were full of well-wishers, friends and family. With road closures in the Fan District surrounding the Cathedral, parking outside was as challenging as finding a seat inside the church.

“Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become,” Bishop DiLorenzo said, followed by “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

The packed Cathedral was a sign that many from the various parishes took a personal interest in supporting those who had come to be ordained. Holy Cross parish in Lynchburg rented a bus for parishioners who had come to see two men — Arturo Fernandez-Lopez and Charles Louis Mugnolo. The Portsmouth Cluster also had two men — Mark Anthony Harriman and Kevin Robert Morrison — who were ordained.

Christina Echevarria, of St. John the Apostle in Virginia Beach, had high praise for Chris Finocchio who was ordained a deacon.

“He teaches in sessions of the RCIA and he and his wife, Stephanie, are in charge of NFP (Natural Family Planning), Mrs. Echevarria said, adding that she is involved with the RCIA.”

chart of deacons and their assigned parishes

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