The end of an era

The end of an era December 8, 2011

As is the custom in the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, they ordained transitional deacons today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at the 80-year-old facility shared by the two dioceses, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York.  The occasion was beautiful but bittersweet:  this will likely be the last ordination in that chapel for a long time.  The seminary program is merging with the Archdiocese of New York and formation will continue there, beginning next year. Above is the final class of seven men being presented for diaconal ordination this morning.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio presided. At the end of the ceremony, he declared that he doesn’t think it’s the last ordination in the building, ever, and that he believes that some day it will once again flourish as a priestly house of formation — a remark that was greeted by sustained applause by the hundreds who had crowded into the chapel to share what all concerned have to consider a poignant and meaningful moment in American Catholic history.

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10 responses to “The end of an era”

  1. I pray that Bishop DiMarzio is correct, because the seminary and its grounds are very beautiful and special. The place is filled with history and its bucolic setting makes it ideal for prayer, meditation, and study. Meanwhile, congratulations to our new transitional deacons. May Our Lord continue to watch over them and guide them on their journey to the priesthood. Ad multos annos!

  2. Actually, Phyllis, I believe the Diocese of Rockville Center has its diaconate offices there, and I presume will continue its formation for permanent deacons in the facility.

  3. Women deacons? Oh Lord. Are we not busy enough? The men are doing just fine.

    Let us pray for faithful vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and permanent diaconate.

    It must be noted that when a seminary or religious institute is faithful to the Church, it tends to be growing and prospering (at least not shrinking). That must mean something.

  4. Allison:
    You must be new to this blog. The discussion on Women Deacons has been a part of a major article/comments on three separate occasions. Phyllis Zagano (who has posted above in this stream) and Deacon Bill Ditewig (who is a regular) have written extensively on this topic.

    Your comment that “the men are doing fine” is really a compliment — but the issue is not how “fine” we are doing but whether we are doing enough. There are close to a half-dozen very important pastoral situations where ordained priests and deacons — the men — do serve but are neither comfortable about doing nor are terribly effective.

    One fault with the new book that Phyllis and Deacon Bill recently authored (along with Gary Macy) it is that there was no serious look at how diaconal ministry in those — albeit limited — settings can become much more pastorally effective with women in those situations. That may be for a different book at a different time by different authors.

  5. The book Deacon Norb refers to (already a run-away bestseller) is Paulist Press’ “Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future” by Santa Clara U. Professor Gary Macy, Deacon William T. Ditewig, and myself, senior research assoicate-in-residence at Hofstra University. This collaborative work demonstrates the historical roots, current discussion, and future possibilities for women in the order of deacon, including the ways in which women’s existing ministries would be enhanced by diaconal ordination, and how the order of deacon would be strengthened by the inclusion of women. For a fuller explanation, see the January 2012 US Catholic:,0

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