May 20, 2024 // Bishop

Andrew Barnes Ordained to the Order of the Diaconate

“Deacon Andy … that sounds good,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said with a smile at the end of the Mass in which he ordained Deacon Andrew Barnes to the sacred order of the diaconate.

“I’m excited and a little overwhelmed at the same time, just from the reality of the priesthood and the diaconate being way bigger than anything we can do on our own,” Deacon Barnes told Today’s Catholic. “It takes a lot of trust and a lot of surrender to the Lord.”

Photos by Scott Warden
Deacon Andrew Barnes, right, looks on as Bishop Rhoades delivers his homily during the ordination Mass.

Deacon Barnes said he had been praying with the Rite of Ordination as part of his personal preparation for his ordination day. “I’ve been trying to stay in the habit of prayer and reflectiveness,” he said.

The ordination Mass was held on Saturday, May 18, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, and Deacon Barnes was joined by friends, family, classmates, his now-fellow deacons, and dozens of priests – all there to celebrate his diaconal ordination.

Monsignor Bill Schooler congratulates Deacon Barnes after helping him vest in his diaconal stole and dalmatic.

Among the clergy attending was Father Bill Schooler, Pastor of Deacon Barnes’ home parish St. Pius X in Granger. Deacon Barnes chose Father Schooler to vest him for the first time in his diaconal robes. Monsignor Michael Heintz, who baptized Deacon Barnes as an infant and taught him in the seminary, was also there to celebrate the occasion. In fact, St. Matthew Cathedral was the church where Monsignor Heintz baptized Deacon Barnes 26 years ago.


Deacon Barnes said it wasn’t until college that he began to consider the priesthood and began praying seriously about his vocation. Eventually, the thought of the priesthood began coming into his head every time he entered the chapel. After more than a year “of trying to fight it,” Deacon Barnes said he applied to seminary his sophomore year of college and entered his junior year. Now, he has one more year at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland before he returns to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for his ordination and life as a priest.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades reminded Deacon Barnes of the meaning of the Greek word “diakonia” from which our word “deacon” comes. I means “service” or “ministry.”

“Andy, as a deacon, you will have the privilege of proclaiming the Gospel at Mass,” Bishop Rhoades said. “But then you have the responsibility to live what you proclaim, to practice what you teach, by witnessing to Jesus’ love in your ministry to His people.”

Deacon Andrew Barnes lies prostrate in front of the altar as the congregation looks on during the Mass of ordination on Saturday, May 18, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.

Bishop Rhoades also drew on the Gospel story of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground to bear fruit. “Jesus is that grain of wheat who fell to the ground, who yielded to the will of His Father, who was obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” Bishop Rhoades said. “And His death produced the greatest fruit: new and eternal life in His resurrection.”

As disciples, Bishop Rhoades continued, we are to follow this example of Christ in that in our particular callings. Addressing Deacon Barnes, Bishop Rhoades said, “Your death to self, like the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying, is ordered to fruitfulness, fruits for the Kingdom of God, for the good, for the salvation of those whom you will serve, for the Church, your new spouse, Christ’s Bride and your Bride.”

Bishop Rhoades lays hands on Deacon Andrew Barnes during the Mass of ordination to the diaconate at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend on Saturday, May 18.

Even Deacon Barnes’ posture of prostration during much of the Rite of Ordination reflected his death to self in his vocation. “Your posture during these moments is one of humility before God,” Bishop Rhoades said. “You will, in a sense, fall to the ground” – like the grain of wheat.

After the Rite of Ordination, Deacon Barnes joined his fellow deacons and other priests in the sanctuary for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Deacon Barnes said one of the ministries he is most excited for as a deacon is performing baptisms. “Being able to give new life spiritually in that way will be really special,” he said.

Deacon Barnes was scheduled to proclaim the Gospel and preach his first homilies at the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Masses on Sunday, May 19, at his home parish of St. Pius X Catholic Church. Deacon Barnes said he finds the prospect “exciting and daunting,” but noted that his homiletics class has given him practice and that he is relying on the intercession of the Holy Spirit. “Pentecost is very fitting,” Deacon Barnes said of the day for his first Masses as deacon.

And that is only the beginning of Deacon Barnes’ ministry as a transitional deacon and, next year, a priest. As Bishop Rhoades told Deacon Barnes right before the ordination rite: “[God] is calling you to a discipleship that reaches down into the deepest level of your person. You will receive a sacramental configuration to Christ the Servant, a configuration that will touch every sector of your life.”

Deacon Andrew Barns hugs his mother after he was ordained to the order of the diaconate at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend on Saturday, May 18.

Deacon Andrew Barnes poses for a photo with Father Terry Coonan and a group of young people outside of St. Matthew Cathedral following Deacon Barnes’ ordination to the diaconate on Saturday, May 18, in South Bend.

Deacon Andrew Barnes and Bishop Rhoades share a laugh outside of St. Matthew Cathedral following Deacon Barnes’ ordination to the diaconate.

Deacon Andrew Barnes celebrates with priests and seminarians following his diaconal ordination.

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