Ordination update: 14 new deacons in Rockford

From the Observer newspaper:

Fourteen men were ordained as deacons on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Cathedral of St. Peter.

During the rite, Bishop David J. Malloy called it a “great privilege” to ordain the class of 14 men to the permanent diaconate. He encouraged them to take the readings — Num 3:5-9; Acts 8:26-40; Mt 20:25b-28 — to heart and to reread them on each anniversary of their ordination to “remind yourselves of why you have come” to be ordained.

The bishop extended his welcome to the wives of the new deacons, acknowledged their joy in their husbands’ new responsibilities of service to the Church, and added that “entrusted to you is a particular task of devotion, of prayer.”

He encouraged the men to receive the gift of ordination to the diaconate with humility, accepting it “as a servant called joyfully to a new task.”

“Don’t do the minimum,” Bishop Malloy counseled, stating that regular attendance at Mass and making confession a “regular part of your spiritual lives” will help to “keep your soul strong.”

Looking at the history of the diaconate, beginning in the Acts of the Apostles, the bishop emphasized the core work of deacons. “Remember, you are bound now to the altar and also are bound to the poor,” he told them.

Calling their work “far deeper” than “simple service,” the bishop said the vocation of a deacon is an “essential” work of the Church.

Looking at St. Stephen, a deacon and the first martyr of the Church, he said that Stephen was an image of Christ in his life and sacrifice. He reminded the new deacons that they “are an example to us” as they “are asked to put your lives on the line” in their call to witness to Jesus in their own lives, “even if necessary to the end, as Stephen did.”

“When we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, each of us is called (to serve) beyond ourselves … to be stewards of this gift,” he continued. “Constantly ask the Lord, ‘How can I serve you better?’ ”

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Congratulations, brothers, and welcome.  Ad multos annos!

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