It just may be one of the largest classes in the country this year, and the Catholic Post has details:
In the moments before his ordination to the permanent diaconate last Saturday, Deacon Tom Gainey lay face down on the floor of St. Mary’s Cathedral with 28 of his classmates.
As the assembly that filled every corner of St. Mary’s Cathedral chanted the Litany of the Saints, the candidate from Mary, Our Lady of Peace Parish in Orion was taking stock of his five years of preparation for this moment. He recognized it not as a culmination, but rather a beginning of years of ordained ministry to God’s people.
“Am I worthy to do this? To carry out what God is calling me to do? That was my main thought,” Deacon Gainey recalled of that private, spiritual moment during a nearly two-and-a-half hour liturgy filled with ancient rites.
In fact, Deacon Gainey and other members of the Diocese of Peoria’s ninth class of permanent deacons had already been declared worthy minutes earlier by Msgr. Charles Beebe, PA, episcopal vicar for the permanent diaconate, as he presented the class to Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, for ordination.
The assembly — comprised of wives, family, friends, priests, parishioners, and members of the deacon community — voiced their agreement with applause.
In his homily directed to the candidates, Bishop Jenky urged the new deacons to “do the will of God from the heart” and to “serve the people in joy as you would the Lord.”
Deacons are one of three orders of ordained ministers, the others being priests and bishops. Men who are ordained as deacons prior to priesthood are called “transitional deacons.” Those who are ordained deacons and remain in that state are referred to as “permanent deacons.”
Bishop Jenky listed the various sacramental and service roles of deacons in his homily, calling on the new deacons to “perform works of charity in the name of their bishop and pastor.”
Under the guidance of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, the men and their wives have spent five years in the selection and formation process. Bishop Jenky called their ordination a moment of renewal not only for the candidates, their families, and their parishes, but for the entire church as well.
Entering the cathedral in a procession that included nearly 100 deacons and dozens of priests, the deacons sat in pews with their wives and families until being called by name for the ordination rites. Those rites included the deacons coming individually into the cathedral sanctuary and kneeling before the bishop three times — first for a series of promises to Bishop Jenky and his successors, next for the laying on of hands, and finally to symbolically receive the Book of the Gospels. The book used in last Saturday’s liturgy once belonged to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whose cause for sainthood the diocese is promoting.
Check out the rest. Congratulations, brothers! Ad multos annos!