Eighteen men entered the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in anticipation and gratitude, June 11, 2022, as they prepared to be ordained permanent deacons. In his homily, Bishop John Noonan called the men “shining armors of our faith.”

Filling the packed church were family, friends, priests, seminarians, deacons and religious who supported the men on their seven-year journey. Their continued support will be necessary as they “will minister in a world of disbelief; a world that will persecute them for their holding fast to the Catholic faith; a world in which they will encounter derision for their loving one another as God loves us,” said Bishop Noonan. Their service and the Eucharist are the summit of our faith, he added.

Each ordinand was called by name to come forward as the bishop handed them the Book of Gospels. Bishop Noonan prayed, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” He said these words are the foundation of the ministry of the permanent diaconate.

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The new deacons:

  • Deacon Julio Basabe Mendoza, St. Rose of Lima, Kissimmee;
  • Deacon Joe Bellissimo, Basilica of St. Paul, Daytona Beach;
  • Deacon Kelvin Berberena, St. Augustine, Casselberry;
  • Deacon Mike Bradica, Most Precious Blood, Oviedo;
  • Deacon Jason Bulman, Catholic communities of Lakeland;
  • Deacon Gerardo De Jesus Lopez, Catholic communities of Lakeland;
  • Deacon Richard Ferris, Blessed Sacrament, Clermont;
  • Deacon Jose Galarza, St. Catherine of Siena, Kissimmee;
  • Deacon Greg Kapral, St. Luke, Barefoot Bay;
  • Deacon Frank Nicsinger, Catholic communities of Lakeland;
  • Deacon Jim Oates, Our Lady of Lourdes, Melbourne;
  • Deacon Joe Pecko, Our Savior, Cocoa Beach;
  • Deacon Jairo Rosario Juarbe, St. Ann, Haines City;
  • Deacon Javier Sacco Perez, Holy Cross, Orlando;
  • Deacon Jesus Suarez Hernandez, St. Joseph, Orlando;
  • Deacon Gary Tester, St. Joseph, Orlando;
  • Deacon Ralph Turingan, Ascension, Melbourne;
  • Deacon Phil Warwick, Ascension, Melbourne.

Congratulations, brothers, and welcome! Ad multos annos!