Ordination update: New Ulm ordains its first class of deacons

Eleven men were set to be ordained on Saturday April 14th, and a local paper in Minnesota took notice:

The men will become the first group to be ordained as permanent deacons for the Diocese of New Ulm that serves 15 southwestern Minnesota communities, including North Mankato.

“The church needs servants,” said Mark Kober of Sleepy Eye, one of four diocesan permanent deacons now serving.

Kober directs the diocese’s permanent diaconate program that takes candidates through a five-year process that includes a 10-month stint of concentrated graduate-level coursework in theology, counseling and philosophy.

Deacon-to-be Steve Spilman of New Ulm said there are two main areas of misunderstanding about the ministry.

“The misconceptions out there is that we’re mini-priests or substitute priests, and we’re not. And we are not doing this because there is a shortage of priests.”

Kober said deacons augment priests’ duties rather than take up their slack.

A permanent deacon is neither a layman or a priest. He’s a cleric who can perform many of the same duties of a priest, such as distribute communion, perform baptisms and deliver sermons at Mass.

If anyone has the names of the men, and pictures, I’d love to post them.  Send ‘em my way!

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