By Dc. Tom Cuskey | Editor
“Through this ancient rite,” as Bishop Douglas J. Lucia described it, 10 men of the diocese were ordained to the Order of Deacon on Saturday, May 21, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “As members of the body of Christ,” the bishop continued, “our brothers are being sent forth, with their God-given talents and gifts, to be a living Gospel for all people to hear.”
And sent forth, they are, to parishes and institutions in the Utica, Cortland, Norwich, Broome County and Syracuse areas. Ordination to the permanent diaconate is the culmination of four years of academic study and spiritual contemplation in deacon formation, as well as two years of prerequisite study in the diocesan Formation for Ministry program. Their journey of discernment, hearing and answering the call even before studies begin, is marked by prayer and reflection.
“One thing that really impressed me was the humility of these men as a group,” observes Deacon Robert Fangio, the diocesan director of deacon personnel. “They are very prayerful, very spiritual and, to me, already have embraced the charism of service. I see a sense of joy, but humility is a big part of it.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website shares that all bishops, priests and deacons are called to functions of Word, Sacrament and Charity, but each in his own way. “As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services. As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church’s resources to meet those needs.”
In Bishop Lucia’s assessment the men are “formed, dedicated, appointed … These three words, brothers and sisters, set the context for our gathering in this Cathedral church this morning.”
In his homily, the Bishop added that they are “strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit … as friends of the Lord Jesus, they are called to be men of prayer, making intercession for those in need.” Bishop adds that “in truth, your ministry is all about … a manifestation of Christ the Deacon.”
Some reading this, or watching the video of the ordination, may feel a tug or a nudge from the Holy Spirit and want to know more about this vocation. “It’s an exciting time for the Church,” Deacon Fangio adds. “This is also a time of uncertainty, and with that comes a lot of faith and trust in the Holy Spirit. If there are people discerning the call, it’s an exciting time to be in the Church, to be a deacon.”
NOTE: Information sessions on the vocation to the diaconate and Formation for Ministry are held four times each year; the next is in June. Visit https://syracusediocese.org/offices/formation-for-ministry/ for more information.