At a time when the dearth of religious vocations to convents and to the priesthood is epidemic, there is one bright ray of hope.
Archbishop Charles Chaput ordained 15 married men of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to the permanent diaconate on Saturday, June 1 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
The diaconate, third in rank in ordained ministry behind bishops and priests, is second only to the episcopacy in ancient tradition, tracing back to the choosing of St. Stephen and six companions to assist the 12 apostles in their ministry, as related in the Acts of the Apostles.
Almost all of the new deacons are college graduates and in keeping with the trend of Catholic migration to the suburbs, only one is a member of a Philadelphia parish.
In his homily Archbishop Chaput explained how each of the three readings of the Mass can be applied to the deacons’ new station in life.
Most specific was the second reading from I Timothy that in conclusion states, “…those who serve well as deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Jesus Christ.”
“As I look back on my own life, I have been a deacon now for 43 years and a priest for much of the same time,” the Archbishop told the new deacons. “One of the great blessings is the example of the faithful, the example of my brother deacons and priests and my brother bishops. It has taught me as the years go on to grow in my own faith in Jesus Christ. This has made me more confident of the faith that has been given to me and I hope that is the same in your life.”
Congratulations and welcome, brothers! Ad multos annos!