The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

The deacons of December: Tyler, Texas welcomes 35 this month

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.”

Welcome, brothers!

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posted December 18, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Seems to me like there’s a BIG wave a coming that ain’t going to be stopped… Come Holy Spirit…

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posted December 30, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Deacon Greg, thanks so much for including this on your blog. I’m Sue De Matteo Necessary, the reporter who wrote the story and a deacon’s wife. I’d like to tell you something about our diocese, which makes this number of deacons even more amazing.The Diocese of Tyler is in the northeast corner of Texas, deep in the Bible Belt. We’re only 20 years old, and still a mission diocese. We have 68 parishes and missions scattered across 33 counties and 23,443 square miles, and roughly 61,000 Catholics who comprise less than 4 percent of the total population. I’m not sure we qualify as even a drop in the bucket.But our vocations numbers are astounding. Thanks to this latest group of ordinands, we now have 89 permanent deacons serving in our diocese (we had 26 when we were created). My own husband was ordained five years ago, one of 17 men ordained in his class. We also have 20-25 men in various levels of formation for the priesthood, and 10-13 young women in a yearlong process of discernment for the religious life. The cloistered Dominican monastery in Lufkin (Monastery of the Infant Jesus) has four women in formation. We’re goin’ like a house afire down here!And it’s not just vocations. We have a number of parishes that are building new churches to accommodate growing communities, every year we take in hundreds of new Catholics at the Easter Vigil, our faith formation programs are thriving, and our diocesan faith formation office is certifying catechists left and right through a multi-level continuing education program.All this is happening in a rural diocese with a tiny Catholic population, in a predominantly Protestant fundamentalist area, where we are still struggling against the perception that we are non-Christian and even pagan.We used to be intimidated by the big dioceses like Dallas, Houston and such. Now we’re showin’ ’em how it’s done.

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