Meet Mark Kay, the newest deacon in the diocese
By Dc. Tom Cuskey
“The Lord is saying ‘Hold my hand and watch what happens!’”
With those words, Mark Kay reflects on his formation journey that culminated in a special ordination Mass where Kay was received into the Order of Deacon. Bishop Douglas J. Lucia presided at the liturgy held on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Holy Family Church in Fairmount, Kay’s home parish.
In the Diocese of Syracuse, most diaconal ordinations are held in the late spring and ordination classes have included as many as 14 men in recent years. Why, then, was a special ordination celebrated on a beautiful fall day for a single deacon ordinand?
Kay first explored the possibility of a diaconal vocation in 2016 with the late Father Lou Aiello, who was the director of deacon formation. Before he could be accepted, though, his career took him to South Carolina where he pursued his vocation in the Diocese of Charleston.
“We can’t plan. … We do our little bit and then God smiles and says ‘Well, we need to think about this,’” Deacon Kay observes about one’s need to be open to the divine plan. “We start here in faith formation, we slide south for five years to be educated in the Diocese of Charleston, but the Lord says, in his infinite wisdom, ‘I’ve got something for you,’ and we slide back into Syracuse.”
Kay’s career brought him back to Central New York before the planned spring 2023 ordination liturgy for his class in Charleston. With the next scheduled ordination in Syracuse taking place in 2024, Bishop Lucia stepped in and made things happen as the Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred upon Kay.
In his homily, Bishop Lucia commented on the significance that it was 60 years ago this October that the Second Vatican Council was convened in Rome, where the Permanent Diaconate was restored “to its place in the church’s ministerial office.”
Quoting Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, Bishop described Christianity as an “encounter with the person of Christ.” He added that each of us, “through our daily living and service … extend Christ, the Word of God made flesh, to those we meet along the road of life.” Drawing a direct correlation to the ordination liturgy, Bishop added that “our Baptismal calling is all about being a manifestation, an icon of Christ in our world today.” He added that, according to the instruction of the Rite of Ordination of a Deacon and ”strengthened by gift of the Holy Spirit, Mark will help the Bishop and his priests in the ministry of Word, of the altar, and of charity, showing himself to be servant of all.”
Bishop charged the new deacon to “do the will of God from the heart, serve people with love and joy as you would the Lord.”
After the liturgy, Kay told the Catholic Sun that he “was a little anxious at the beginning of the week, but as it progressed this peaceful calm started coming about.” Kay remarked that “the Holy Spirit starts working his magic on our soul. It’s just a humble blessing and an honor to be back home, to be here and present with family and friends. I am looking forward to ministering in the vineyards of the Lord.”
Dc. Kay and his wife Holly reside in Liverpool. They have two children, one grandchild and are expecting a second next spring.