A thoughtful reader sent along this article from a paper in East Texas, with the happy news that still more new deacons will be joining our ranks this month:
Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ, will ordain 35 men to the permanent diaconate at four Masses this month.
The group ordinations will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Dec. 15 at St. Mary Church in Longview, Dec. 22 at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches and Dec. 29 at Sacred Heart Church in Texarkana.
The men to be ordained represent 23 churches in the Diocese of Tyler and, after ordination, will bring the number of permanent deacons working in the diocese to 88.
Felix Ramos, slated for ordination Dec. 22, will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. His archdiocese did not have a deacon formation program active at the time he wished to begin formation, so he was given permission to join the Diocese of Tyler’s program, according to Deacon Rubén Natera, vice chancellor for the Tyler Diocese.
The article goes on to give details about the men, and about the diaconate. It quotes a priest who notes: “Deacons are ordained clergy…and, together with priests and bishops, they complete what the Patristic Fathers refer to as the ‘fullness of the church hierarchy,’ or the fullness of holy orders. They are not ‘substitute priests,’ but neither are they ‘glorified altar boys.’ They are ordained ministers, sharing in the Sacrament of Holy Orders with bishops and priests, but they have their own unique vocation, which neither priest nor bishop can or should fulfill.”