The deacon is a powerful icon of Christ the servant that our Church and our world need today, said Archbishop Bernard Hebda as he ordained 10 permanent deacons Dec. 9 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. He told the candidates, “Your message, which is again the Church’s message, will be credible to the extent that you are able to manifest the image of Christ who … came to serve and not be served.” Approximately 1,700 gathered to celebrate the ordination, including Bishop Andrew Cozzens, priests, deacons, family and friends. It took place on the feast of St. Juan Diego, to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico and gave her image on his tunic, called a tilma, in 1531. Parts of the liturgy were proclaimed and sung in Spanish. Noting that the Blessed Mother accompanied St. Juan Diego, Archbishop Hebda told the candidates, “As you engage in this important ministry in the Church, you won’t be wearing the tilma, but you’ll be wearing the stole and dalmatic [vestment] that should be a reminder to you that you go with the Church.” The new deacons and their home parishes are: Gordon Bird, 60, All Saints, Lakeville; Dan Brewer, 53, St. Joseph, West St. Paul; John Cleveland, 63, St. Therese, Deephaven; Patrick Hirl, 52, St. Gabriel the Archangel, Hopkins; Alan Nicklaus, 53, Our Lady of Peace, Minneapolis; Paul Ravnikar, 59, St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park; Michael Redfearn, 40, St. Wenceslaus, New Prague; James Reinhardt, 56, Holy Family, St. Louis Park; Ronald Schmitz, 56, Holy Trinity, South St. Paul; and Donald Tienter, 58, St. Cecilia, St. Paul. During the two and a half hour liturgy, the archbishop honored the candidates’ wives for their support. The candidates declared their intention to become deacons and prostrated themselves on the altar. Archbishop Hebda laid hands on their heads and said the prayer of ordination. The newly ordained deacons were then vested in a diaconal stole and dalmatic.
Among other things, I think the new deacons reveal once again how the diaconate in the United States is evolving—becoming younger and more diverse. Two decades ago, mot of the men being ordained would have been in their 60’s.
Congratulations and welcome, brothers! Ad multos annos!
Photo: Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit