Ordination update: 16 new deacons in Cheyenne

Bishop Paul Etienne had this to say about the men who were ordained on 15 May:

This class of men for some time now have developed quite a reputation for their great quality.  The many professors and others who have worked with them in their years of formation always have great and positive things to say on their behalf.  I must say, I am in complete agreement.  The Church of the Diocese of Cheyenne was truly blessed today in calling these men to the ‘ministry of charity.’

Equally impressive are the wives of these new deacons.  They have been supportively with them and for them.  It was with no small amount of emotion as these women carried the new deacon vestments down the center aisle of church for the vesting rite in the ordination.  We are truly grateful to these wives and their families for sharing the husbands and fathers with the Church.

And from the ordination homily, I couldn’t help but notice who got the first mention:

We wish in a very special way to welcome the wives and family members of our deacon class.  The wives of permanent deacons play significant roles in both the discernment of this call as well as in the formation process.  It is one more beautiful manifestation of how in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the two truly do become one flesh.  To you, especially, ladies, I wish to express our profound gratitude as the diocese of Cheyenne for sharing your husbands with this local church for the life of service they freely embrace today.  I also wish to thank you and your children in advance for your continued support of these men in their generous service of the Church.

The readings chosen for today’s celebration give clear indications of the life and ministry of permanent deacons.  First, my sons, as with all Christians, your lives are to be built upon the very life of Christ.  This is what Jesus intends when he invites us to ‘Remain in his love.’  For your lives to be fruitful, you must first be open to receive the precious gift of Christ’s redeeming love, and just as open and generous in sharing that love in the midst of your ministry as deacons.  The ministry of the deacon is primarily the ministry of ‘charity’, which has its origins in the very love shared between the Father and the Son and poured out upon the Church in the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In the celebration of every Eucharist, which is the heart and soul of the Church, the deacon has distinct roles to play, and these liturgical duties define the life he is to live outside of the Mass.  Here I wish to make a very clear point.  The life that the Eucharist nourishes in each of us is to be coherently lived in every and all aspects of our daily life.  The life that the Eucharist nourishes in each of us is nothing less than divine life, the life of faith, the life shared between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There is no ‘compartmentalizing’ this life of faith.  It is either alive and flourishing, or is diminishing and dying.

So, my brothers, you are to first live a coherent faith life, so as to be able to effectively enflame the faith in the lives of others.  This is a great challenge for the Church today.  This is a great challenge which you as deacons are to embrace, and that is to help the People of God not only know the basic tenants of the faith, but to live it fully and freely in their daily lives.

This is a great gift that you as deacons bring to the Church.  Many of you continue to work and live in the midst of the world.  It is precisely in the midst of your daily life, as husbands and fathers, as co-workers and volunteers that you are to lead others to the Truth of the Gospel.  This Truth has a name, and he is Jesus Christ.

Read it all.

And check out more photos.

Welcome, brothers, and congratulations!  Ad multos annos!


  1. Deacon Norb says:

    I went on the diocesan photo site and noticed that the new deacons were “vested” by their wives rather than by their pastor/sponsor from the clerical ranks. I’ve not seen that before. How common is it ?

  2. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I noticed that, too. It looks like the wives are handing the dalmatics to the vesting clergy, which is appropriate.

  3. Modern Revert says:

    This is great, we’ve overcoming the deacon shortage.
    Now make them into priests!

  4. Some dioceses will not allow deacons over the age of 60. Their loss, retired people now make up a huge resource for the Church.

  5. deacondog says:

    Have not heard of that age.limitation
    Is that on the Directory or just by bishop?

  6. Fiergenholt says:

    It is up to the local bishop. The THEORY, I think, is that it takes at least ten years of service for a deacon to get experienced enough and mature enough to be really effective. The real problem is that some bishops also do not want to ordain men with children still living at home. So when you subtract some years at the end and then subtract some more years on the beginning, you get a much smaller window of opportunity that was artificially created by bishop who may not have thought through the implications

    Sometime back, I met a deacon who is still alive at 97 AND he still puts in a full day of ministry. It also runs in my mind that he was ordained somewhere over thirty years ago. . . mathematically after the age of 60, I am sure.

  7. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear deacondog,

    That would be a local determination. There was some talk during the drafting of the National Directory to have a national upper age limit (for a wide variety of reasons), but after several drafts, the bishops decided to drop that and let each bishop decide the policy for his own diocese.

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  8. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear Norb,

    In the early days of the renewal, it was QUITE common for the wives to vest the newly-ordained deacons. Then, a couple of things happened: first, not every deacon was married, or was widowed, and so there were concerns over those ordinands and their own feelings; second, upon reflection it was realized that — while the wives and families are certainly an integral part of the whole experience (for those who are married) — the meaning of that part of the rite is not so much about being a family celebration, but an ecclesial act through which the deacon is being admitted into the ranks of the clergy.

    Many dioceses have now found a Solomonic path, by having the spouses/parents bring the vestments to the vesting clergy and together they assist in the vesting. That’s what we just did a couple of weeks ago here in the Diocese of Monterey when we ordained 13 new deacons!

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  9. Deacon Brian says:

    Congrats to the new Deacons !

    Lord Jesus, you came to serve, not to be served,
    form within us, your deacons, generous spirit;
    Fill us with your love,
    that we may love the Father as your love him.
    Fill us with your compassion,
    that we may see our brothers and sisters
    as you see them.
    Fill us with your courage,
    that we may give our lives in service to the Church
    as you gave your life for her.
    Fill us with that Spirit which will make us
    preachers of your Word,
    ministers of your Sacrifice,
    servants of your Bride,
    friends of the poor,
    and the voice of the forgotten.
    Transform us through your Holy Spirit
    so that we may transform the world into
    Your Kingdom of justice and faith.


  10. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear Fiergenholt

    That’s part of the theory. However, the bigger factor is that most bishops have established a policy that all their clergy must retire at a certain age (often 70 or 75). If the man starts formation at 65, and is ordained at 70, he then would have only five years or so of ministry. (For those interested, canon law only requires retirement at age 75 of diocesan bishops and those priests who are in the office of pastor. Most bishops simple extend this requirement to ALL their clergy).

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  11. Midwestlady says:

    Priest and permanent deacon are 2 different vocations.

  12. ALL deacons and priests are cordially invited to attend the annual convocation of the CONFRATERNITY OF CATHOLIC CLERGY 7/30 – 8/3 at Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein, IL. The CCC is a national association of priests and deacons who promote ongoing spiritual, theological and pastoral formation of its members in a fraternal setting. We are faithful to the Magisterium and loyal to the Holy Father. We have fellow confraternities in Australia and the United Kingdom. Any Catholic member of the clergy in good standing is invited to join the CCC. Congratulations to all newly ordained deacons.

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