Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 15 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Isidore the Farmer

Wyoming’s booming diaconate

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/23/12

This year, the Diocese of Cheyenne ordained a record number of deacons — and, in a rare exception, one of the youngest in the country.

From the Billings Gazette: 

As the faithful in St. Mary’s Cathedral knelt in their pews, Michael Martinson was facedown before the altar. Martinson lay, and the faithful prayed, all through the singing of the Litany of the Saints. To Catholics, lying prostrate symbolizes the unworthiness for the office of deacon and the candidate’s dependence upon God and the community to be successful. Martinson, 34, was the only deacon ordained on Tuesday at St. Mary’s, but only because of a technicality. Martinson is one of 17 permanent deacons to be ordained this year, the largest number in the history of the Diocese of Cheyenne, said Vernon Dobelmann, a deacon himself and the diocese’s director of pastoral ministries and superintendent of Catholic schools. The class was about twice as big as past classes, he figured. The other 16 were ordained in May, before Martinson had turned 34. A deacon must be 35, but the bishop has the authority to dispense a year, which happened in Martinson’s case. So Martinson’s ceremony was scheduled shortly after his 34th birthday. “Seventeen deacons, for any diocese in this country, is a very large class,” said Bishop Paul Etienne of the Diocese of Cheyenne, which covers the entire state of Wyoming. In fact, Etienne was recently teasing the cardinal archbishop of New York that he had ordained more people for the local church this year than the cardinal had. “It’s a really unique blessing for the local church. God works how and when he will, and thankfully, these guys have responded,” Etienne said. “We as a church will benefit from this ministry.” The record-breaking class comes at a time when polls suggest fewer Americans are identifying with a particular church and that only 25 to 30 percent of those who call themselves Catholic participate on a weekly basis, Dobelmann said. “I think this says the exact opposite,” said the Rev. Tim Martinson, Michael Martinson’s younger brother who was ordained as a priest two years ago. “There is an excitement and an enthusiasm and a desire to answer the call that God is calling us to do and to spread the gospel message. That’s what these deacons have done and are going to do the rest of their lives.”

Read more. 

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
Philip Kosloski
What happened between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus?
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
J-P Mauro
We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines
Philip Kosloski
What was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
See More