From the New Jersey Turnpike bureau comes this heartening report:
On Saturday, May 21, in Glassboro, 10 men in the Camden Diocese were ordained as deacons, after completing six years of formation and readying themselves to be of service to God and the Catholic community.
Bishop Joseph A. Galante performed the Rite of Ordination to the Order of Deacon, at the 10:30 a.m. celebration at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Glassboro, calling on the new deacons to “help the bishop and his priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar, and of charity, showing themselves to be servants of all” by proclaiming the Gospel, administering the sacraments such as the Holy Eucharist and baptism, assisting at and blessing marriages, bringing Viaticum to the sick and dying, and conducting funeral rites.
“Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel but also its ministers,” Bishop Galante said.
“All of these men came into our program with significant experience in the secular business world as well service in parish ministries,” said Deacon Leo McBlain, director of the Diocesan Office of the Diaconate.
“In their six years of diaconate formation they have built on these competencies through increased knowledge of church and the development of good pastoral skills. I believe that these men are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities that they will now face as they begin their ministries as deacons.”
The ordination is “a humbling experience,” said Deacon Steven T. Theis of Mullica Hill.
For nine years prior to entering formation, Deacon Theis, 51, director of strategic development for an electric transmission and distribution company, with a wife and two sons, felt “a calling to do more with the church, and more with the faith.”
After speaking with diocesan priest, Father Anthony DiBardino, he was convinced God wanted him to enter the diaconate, so he set up a meeting with director of the Office of the Diaconate, Deacon Leo McBlain. “I had the feeling of needing to do more.”
The trials of formation for the past six years was mixed with personal trials: in January 2009 he was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment before being declared cancer free the next May.
In fact, this past weekend marked his ordination and first Mass as a deacon, but also his second anniversary of being cancer-free.
“Faith gets you through (anything),” he said. “Christ is with us. I know he and the Blessed Mother were with me.”
Read the rest here. Ad multos annos! Congratulations and welcome!