Deacons, priests and Bishop Oscar A. Solis processed into the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Jan. 31 as the choir sang, “Servants of God, bless the Lord, praise the Lord, praise and exult him above all forever. Alleluia.”
The antiphon by Peter Latona was particularly apt for the Mass at which Bishop Solis ordained five men to the diaconate: Jeff Allen of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Jeremy Castellano of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Robert Cowlishaw of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Tom Devereux of St. Mary Parish, and Greg Werking of St. Thomas More Parish.
“Christ is sending you to be his disciples, not as glorified altar boys, not as liturgical decorations on the altars, neither are you sent to become wanna-be priests; you are called to be servants,” Bishop Solis told the men during his homily. “Serve with humility of heart. Be generous in offering your lives in service. Learn to set aside your personal agenda and instead attend to the very needs of the Church and the people of God you are called to serve.”
The Scripture readings for the Mass at which the Rite of Ordination of Deacons was celebrated emphasized the theme of service. The first reading, Acts 6:1-7, described how the first deacons were chosen “to serve at table.” In the second reading, 1 Peter 4:7b-11, St. Peter urged each person who has received a gift to “use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” The Gospel reading, John 14:15-21, recounts Jesus telling his disciples to keep his commandments.
Bishop Solis began his homily by expressing gratitude on behalf of all in the diocese to the five deacon candidates for responding to God’s call “to give your lives willingly for the love of God and service of the Church.” He also thanked their spouses for “journeying with you in your years of formation, giving their love, their time and talent in order to help you prepare for this special moment in your life.”
Congratulations, brothers, and welcome! Ad multos annos!
Photo: Facebook/Intermountain Catholic