The Deacon's Bench

Just when you thought ordination season was over…another crop of deacons has popped up.


This fresh batch of permanent deacons comes to us from the Diocese of Joliet, in Illinois. The Catholic Explorer has the write up:

Twenty-five men of faith exited the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet Aug. 25 as newly ordained deacons.

In the moments following the morning ordination Mass, the new deacons were congratulated outside of the church by leaders of the Joliet Diocese, including Bishop J. Peter Sartain, retired Bishop Joseph L. Imesch and retired Auxiliary Bishop Roger L. Kaffer, along with deacons and priests of the diocese in attendance at the cathedral. The deacons soon began embracing proud family members and friends.

Through reception of the sacrament, Deacon Patrick Skelly of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Bourbonnais told the Catholic Explorer he has been “changed forever.”

Jubilant over his new role in the church, Deacon Skelly couldn’t put into words the “happiness” he experienced upon becoming a deacon, he said. “I truly felt the special presence and support of Christ and the community.” Speaking about his diaconate formation, he added, “I could have never done this without my wife and children.”

Deacon Skelly, the 41-year-old director of choral activities at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, has over the years served the people of God in numerous capacities. Involved in youth ministry and religious education in previous years, he now helps facilitate marriage and baptism preparation with his wife, Sharon, and assists with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at his parish. “I’ve always felt a call from God to serve the church in some way or another.”

A regular cantor at his church, Deacon Skelly said he plans to continue to use his musical talents to glorify the Lord. The husband and father of two teenagers mentioned he also looks forward to assisting at the altar and preaching and helping others outside of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish.

Deacon Joseph Dalpiaz, director of the diocesan Office for the Diaconate, publicly testified to the worthiness of the candidates for reception of the sacrament following the Scripture readings in the midst of the ordination Mass.

In an earlier conversation with the Explorer, Deacon Dalpiaz, said, “I’ve seen how much” the men “have developed, especially in their spiritual lives” during their three years of formation. “There’s a lot of talent in that group,” he said. “I’m confident that they are going to be wonderful deacons. They truly have a spirit of humble service.”

In his homily, Bishop Sartain described the function of deacons of the Catholic Church. They “help the bishops and priests as ministers of the word, of the altar and of charity.” Speaking about the candidates, he continued, “It will be their duty to bring God’s word to believer and unbeliever alike.”

It’s wonderful news. Let’s keep these and all who serve the Church in our prayers.

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