After years of prayer and study, eight married men were prepared to be ordained permanent deacons Oct. 29 in Portland’s St. Mary Cathedral. Archbishop John Vlazny said the Archdiocese of Portland is “blessed with the presence of so many men who are stepping forward to offer themselves as servants of the gospel.”
“All leadership in the church begins with service,” the archbishop told the congregation, which packed the cathedral.
Permanent deacons, who will not become priests, are ordained with a special mission of serving the sick and the needy, and helping at the altar during Mass. The deacons can officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals and give homilies. The permanent diaconate was revived after the Second Vatican Council.
Those ordained were: Ricardo Cervantes, Paul Cramer, Felix Garcia, Jose Gonzalez, E. James Hix Jr., Romeo Jimenez, Paul Pham and Leo Rasca.
The corps of new deacons in western Oregon represents the local church’s ethnic diversity. Two were born in Mexico, one in Guatemala, one in El Salvador and one in Vietnam. The U.S.-born deacons in the class hail from Washington, California and Oregon. All have children.
“Now, more than ever before, they become family men of the church,” the archbishop said, “servants of the gospel and charity, leaders across this great archdiocese on the journey of faith in which we all began on the day of our baptism.”
Archbishop Vlazny, who was himself ordained a transitional deacon 50 years ago to the day, said deacons are to be models of evangelization, since inviting others to the gospel is the mission of the church. They evangelize, he explained, by performing service with the kind of love Jesus showed when he laid down his life.
Congratulations, brothers! Ad multos annos!
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