Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, ordained fourteen men as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington at a Mass of Ordination today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl reflected on the ordination taking place in an age of renewed focus on our Catholic identity and in a culture that questions it. “Our Catholic identity even when challenged should remain for us a source of conviction and pride. We recognize that as we open ourselves to life in the Spirit, radiating fully Christ’s love and truth, we can also bring joy to a world that so desperately needs God.” “As the Church faces the issues, challenges and opportunities of today, what does she expect from her deacons?” he asked. “What are the qualities needed to be a deacon? The pages of Saint Luke’s book do not give a detailed description of the attitude or disposition of Stephen and the others. But I think it fair to conclude from everything else we read that they possessed a generosity of heart and a love of Christ and his Church. These traits made it possible for each to work gladly and willingly with the Apostles. In their ministry of service, the deacons could relieve the Apostles of their growing burdens and thus attend to the needs of their brothers and sisters in the Church. Theirs would be a ministry of service.” “Today we see this same willingness to serve – this same openness to the Lord – in the men who are here with us today and who have prepared for so long for this sacred moment,” said the cardinal. Referencing Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, the cardinal reminded the ordinandi that it is precisely the joy of the Gospel that should fill the hearts and minds of all who encounter Jesus. “Those in holy orders should manifest joy since our proclamation is that Christ is risen and the kingdom of God is at hand,” said the cardinal. “May you always be eager to serve, to go where you are sent and to do so with joy. May you always carry in your heart the zeal of this ordination in which, in a very special way, you become one with Christ.” The new deacons for the archdiocese come from a variety of backgrounds, and include a molecular biologist working in AIDS research, a commercial airline pilot, a construction quality control manager and several who work in the IT field or for the federal government.
Congratulations and welcome, brothers! Ad multos annos!
Photos from Archdiocese of Washington Facebook page. See more here.