The Deacon's Bench

And the local paper has the scoop:

Nearly 30 additional men are now formally part of the framework that ministers to the faithful throughout Central Jersey’s Roman Catholic churches following their ordination as deacons in the Diocese of Metuchen.

The 29 deacons, most active in their churches for years, were installed by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski Saturday during a special Mass at Sacred Heart of Jesus R.C. Church.

It was the largest permanent diaconate class in the diocese’s 28-year history, eclipsing the 24-member group added in 2007, according to Samuel J. Costantino, diocesan director of the Office of the Diaconate.

“I’m proud of these 29 men,” Costantino said. “I look forward to them having successful ministries.”

Deacons in the Roman Catholic church are considered members of the faith’s clergy, permitted to carry out a variety of functions, including baptisms, assisting priests during Mass, preaching sermons, serving as a witness at marriages, presiding at funeral vigils and graveside committal services and performing blessings.

“It’s something we believe God has called us to do,” said John Broehl, 40, of East Brunswick, A longtime member of St. Bartholemew’s parish in the township who has been active in a variety of programs, there, Broehl will continue to serve in his home parish as chaplain of the religious education program there.

The relatively large size of the two most recent diaconate formation classes continues a church trend toward increasing involvement in the role, noted diocesan Director of Communications Joanne Ward.

Although only 11 men make up the next class in 2012, Costantino said a recent meeting of those inquiring about the 2015 class drew 67 men. Costantino attributed the development to divine action.

“The Holy Spirit is working to call these men forward,” he said.

Amen! Check out more at the link. Congratulations — and ad multos annos!

Photo: by Jason Towlen/MyCentralJersey
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