That would be the one in Florida, not the one in Italy.
John Robert Gaitens, James Hanks and Leonardo Pastore reached the altar of Epiphany Cathedral by very different paths.
Through their passionate belief in their faith and with the support of their wives, children, family and friends, they arrived to be ordained as permanent deacons in the Diocese of Venice on June 4.
The men processed into Epiphany Cathedral dressed in white albs of a candidate. It wasn’t until Bishop Frank J. Dewane laid his hands upon the head of each candidate that they were officially ordained as deacons. The imposition of the Bishop’s hands confers grace and spiritual power. In silence, he laid his hands on each man’s head and prayed for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The mission of the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of Venice is to serve as ministers of the Word, where they proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach in the name of the Church; to serve as ministers of the Sacraments, as deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services; to serve as ministers of charity, lead in identifying the needs of others, and marshal the Church’s resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs.
Deacons Gaitens, of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, Hanks, of Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice, and Pastore of St. Jude Parish in Sarasota, are examples of men who chose to give their lives to Jesus Christ, Bishop Dewane noted.
“Your soul has been indelibly marked; be conscious of the change that has taken place within you,” he added. “As deacons you are loved by Jesus Christ in a particular way that comes with a certain grace. Be the instrument of Jesus Christ in response to that love.”
He called on the men to be the leaven in the community and to be a pillar in their parish while calling others to the faith.
“The Lord will give you the words,” he said. “Your life experiences will add meaning to those words and serve you well.”
The wives, who watched the ordination with a combination of awe and a few flowing tears, brought forth the gifts for the Mass. Margaret Gaitens, Susan Hanks and Blanca Pastore each spoke about the pride they had in their husband’s ordination.
“I am a little overwhelmed right now,” Blanca Pastore said, wiping a few tears away following the ordination. “I have never been more proud of my husband than I am right now. This is such a happy day.”
Read more. Ad multos annos, brothers! Welcome!