The Deacon's Bench

It’s a busy time in the country’s cathedrals and basilicas.

Worcester just ordained three new permanent deacons, and the Catholic Free Press has a lovely look at their calling:

He wrote letters to his former girlfriend. But then he destroyed them. After all, he was in seminary now.

But when he kept using her name when addressing a nun, the teacher figured out there was someone special behind the slip of the tongue.

Saturday that vocation-torn seminarian was ordained a permanent deacon at St. Paul Cathedral. In September he celebrates 19 years of marriage to the woman he couldn’t get out of his heart.

This is the story Anthony K. and Maryjo McCluskey Gagliani of Blackstone told The Catholic Free Press after his ordination. Ordained permanent deacons with him were Frederick A. Coggins of Northbridge and Paul J. Lesieur of Oxford.

Permanent deacons, unlike transitional deacons preparing for priesthood, can be married. Deacons’ ministries include proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, conducting funeral services, helping the needy and working to eliminate injustices.

“We dated in college and we went our separate ways and he went to St. John’s Seminary” in Brighton, Mrs. Gagliani said, telling the story about herself and her husband.

“I’d written her letters in seminary and ripped them up,” he said. Such letters would ruin his vocation, he figured.

Asked if he still had a heart for her then, he responded, embracing his wife, “I still do have a heart for her.”

You’ll want to read the rest.

Meantime, in the Archdiocese of Washington, big doings this Saturday, as 20 new deacons were added to the rolls, in a mass celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:

This morning, 20 men were ordained as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington. Only two years removed from my own ordination to the diaconate, this was my first opportunity to witness a diaconal ordination that wasn’t my own. As these men were called from the congregation, prayed over, made a promise of obedience to the Archbishop and received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, I was in a state of perpetual awe and joy.

Though we are clergy in every sense of the word, deacons are not “mini priests.” We have a vocation that is uniquely our own. We are ordained to the service of God’s people rather than to the service of the Sacraments. This is most visibly symbolized by the fact that we wear our stole in such a way to keep our right arm free to serve the people of God.

In most dioceses including Washington, those admitted to the Order of Deacon do so after at least five years of prayer and theological study. However, for these men, the hard work has only begun. Please join me in praying for my brother deacons as they begin their careers as “Heralds of the Gospel”

There’s a complete listing of the men at the link. Also, the Catholic Standard has a great write-up about the men.

Congratulations, all. And ad multos annos! Welcome!

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