May 22, 2023 // Bishop
Caleb Kruse and Oscar Duarte Ordained as Deacons
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ordained two men to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Saturday, May 20. Caleb Kruse and Oscar Duarte will now continue their vocational journey to the priesthood as transitional deacons.
Just before the homily, Father Andrew Budzinski, Vocations Director for the diocese, presented the two candidates to Bishop Rhoades, who promptly elected them for ordination.
Bishop Rhoades began his homily by referring to the responsorial psalm, which asks “How can I repay the Lord for all the goodness He has shown to me?”
“It’s a question that Caleb and Oscar have pondered and they have responded with the decision to make a return to the Lord by committing their lives to His service. The psalmist responded to his own question by saying: ‘The cup of salvation I will raise up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.’ That is also what Caleb and Oscar will do. They’ll do so quite literally as deacons when they raise aloft the chalice with the Blood of Christ when the priest intones the great doxology at the end of the Eucharistic prayer.”
He continued by talking about the historical role of a deacon within the Church.
“In the ancient Church, the ministry of the chalice, of the Blood of Jesus Christ, was assigned to the deacon in the Eucharist. St. Justin Martyr, in the second century, wrote about deacons distributing ‘wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced.’ St. Augustine, in the fourth century, mentions that the deacon St. Lawrence ‘was a minister of the Blood of Christ; there, for the name of Christ, he poured out his own.’ The deacon Lawrence, like the deacon St. Stephen, poured out his blood as a martyr. They both offered the ultimate ‘diakonia,’ the supreme service, their very lives in martyrdom.”
The diakonia of the altar, he said, leads to the diakonia of charity.
“The deacon is to be the icon of Christ the servant, who came not to be served, but to serve, as we heard in the Gospel. Like blood circulating through the body, giving and sustaining life, the task of deacons is to circulate the charity of Christ within His Body, the Church. Deacons, who prepare, guard, and distribute the precious Blood of Christ at Mass, are to circulate the charity of Christ in their ministry.”
Bishop Rhoades then pointed to the first reading from the book of Numbers, an account of the presentation of the Levites to the priests.
“Notice that the Levites were presented to the priests as a gift to assist them in their ministry. Clearly, the Church sees this as a foreshadowing of deacons. In fact, since the early centuries of the Church, the three grades of Holy Orders in Israel — the high priest, priests, and Levites — were seen as prefiguring the three grades of the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Church — bishop, presbyters, and deacons. St. Jerome, in the fourth century, recognized this typology and wrote the following: ‘Bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in the Church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple.’”
One particular task of some of the Levites, Bishop Rhoades said, was to provide music at temple liturgies.
“I had to mention this in the homily since, as most of you probably know, Oscar is a professional drummer and Caleb a very talented saxophonist. I don’t think that places them in the highest stratum of deacons, but they both have musical talents that hopefully they’ll get to use in joyful service of God’s people.”
Referring to the second reading, which came from the Acts of the Apostles, Bishop Rhoades talked about one of the seven original deacons of the Church, St. Philip.
“He taught and evangelized the Ethiopian eunuch and brought him to the waters of Baptism. The Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away after he baptized the eunuch. The eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing, the reading from Acts tells us.
“Caleb and Oscar, like Philip the Deacon and Evangelist, you are called to be deacon evangelists, bringing the joy of the Gospel to others. The knowledge you have gained in the seminary is not just for yourselves. It is for others, for the Church. The Spirit may also snatch you away, like when I transfer you, but with the obedience you promise today, you will go like St. Philip did, to another town to preach the good news. I pray that you will be zealous in evangelization and bring many to the waters of Baptism, like Philip did, and that you will also bring many who have fallen away from the faith back to the Lord and His Church.”
After the homily, Kruse and Duarte pledged obedience to Bishop Rhoades and his successors prior to lying prostrate before the altar as a sign of submission. After that, the bishop laid hands on each of the candidates and prayed the words of consecration, conferring the Holy Spirit.
Upon completion of the prayer of ordination, each candidate received the book of the Gospels — part of the responsibilities of a deacon is to proclaim the Gospel at Mass.
After Mass, a beaming Deacon Kruse, surrounded by numerous cheerful family and friends, expressed his joy as he looked ahead to his summer assignment at St. John the Baptist Parish in New Haven, and said that the feeling of ordination to the diaconate was still “sinking in.”
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