Ah, a little more sunshine for the Sunshine State!
Bishop Felipe J. Estèvez ordained 15 men to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of St. Augustine on Saturday, June 18 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jacksonville. About 1,100 friends, family and priests nearly filled the church to celebrate the ordination. Joining Bishop Estèvez as principal concelebrants were Bishop Emeritus Victor Galeone, Bishop Emeritus John Snyder and Fathers Michael Morgan, Guy Noonan, Frederick Parke and Caesar Russo. Concelebrants included the priests of the diocese. The class of 2011 represents the third class of deacons to be ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine since the permanent diaconate formation program was established in 2004 by Bishop Galeone.
From the bishop’s homily:
In this first ordination as recently appointed Bishop of St. Augustine Diocese, my heart magnifies the Lord in Marian joy. I give thanks to the Fathers of Vatican II for opening this ministry to the universal Church. I give thanks to Bishop Victor Galeone, my predecessor for starting with confidence the first class of deacons in this Diocese. I give thanks for the deep appreciation of our pastors for their ministry. Above all, I give thanks to the Holy Spirit in giving such charismas and gifts to our brother deacons who are such a positive contribution to the renewal of our Church and its evangelizing mission. The Deacons witness that kind of celestial joy out of living Jesus’ commandment: it is greater to serve than to be served. They become deeply active persons along the lines of St. Paul, “if ministry in ministering; if one is a teacher in teaching; if one exhorts in exhortation; if one contributes in generosity, if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12: 6-8) The Church is alive because of this exchange of gifts. The Church advances in evangelization because of the credibility of this self-giving Eucharistic love shining the light of Christ in a society excessively tied to self interest even in the exercise of philanthropy. The most blessed Mother is called the humble servant of the Lord. In saying “my soul magnifies the Lord,” she expresses as His holiness Benedict XVI comments, her whole program of life: not setting herself at the center but leaving space for God who is encountered both in prayer and in the encounter of neighbor-only then does goodness enters the world. Mary’s greatness consists that she wants to magnify God not herself.” (Cf. Benedict, op. cit. 41) Dear deacons, dear deacons’ wives, I entrust your ministry to Our Lady the servant of the Word, the Eucharistic woman and with Benedict XVI, I pray to her who is the servant of love per excellence…
Congratulations, brothers! Ad multos annos! And welcome!