Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer
May 23, 2017 // Diocese

Five ordained to the diaconate

Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer

Diocesan seminarians Nathan Maskal, of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Thomas Zehr, of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, Jay Horning, of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, and Patrick Hake and David Huneck, both from St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, were ordained to the diaconate Saturday, May 20, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

Seminarian Patrick Hake gives the thumbs-up signal as he and the four other diaconate candidates begin processing to the front door of the cathedral before the Mass of Ordination to the diaconate.

A full cathedral included celebrant Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, concelebrating diocesan priests and visiting priests, diocesan deacons and seminarians and area Knights of Columbus. Also attending the joyful celebration were members of several other religious communities, as well as parents, families and friends of the five candidates.

The Rite of Ordination during the Mass began after the Gospel, during which each man was formally chosen for ordination. Father Andrew Budzinski, vocations director, publicly attested to the worthiness of each of the elect and presented all the men to Bishop Rhoades.

After the homily, Hake, Horning, Huneck, Maskal and Zehr individually declared their promises to assume the responsibility of the office of deacon. These promises included celibacy, and respect and obedience to Bishop Rhoades and his successors. A cantor from the Cathedral Choir sang the litany of saints while the elect lay prostrate on the sanctuary floor of the cathedral in front of the altar.

The bishop and deacons stand together with the newly ordained deacons on the cathedral plaza after a Mass of Ordination on Saturday, May 20. In the front row, from left, are Deacon Eric Burgener, newly ordained Deacon Patrick Hake, newly ordained Deacon David Huneck, newly ordained Deacon Nathan Maskal, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, newly ordained Deacon Thomas Zehr, newly ordained Deacon Jay Horning and Deacon Dennis Di Benedetto. In the back row are seminarian altar servers. — Joe Romie

After the litany and in silence, Bishop Rhoades laid his hands on the head of each of the elect in accordance with the apostolic tradition, then solemnly recited the Prayer of Ordination. Then each newly ordained deacon was vested with the diaconal stole and a long, wide-sleeved tunic called a dalmatic. Afterwards the bishop handed each of the five deacons the book of the Gospels, symbolizing their task to proclaim the Gospel in liturgical celebrations and to preach the faith of the church in word and deed.

Bishop Rhoades then bestowed the traditional gesture known as the fraternal kiss of peace, thereby welcoming the new deacons into their ministry. Afterwards, all the other deacons present also welcomed the newly ordained in this fashion.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades affirmed that Hake, Horning, Huneck, Maskal and Zehr “will be configured to Christ, who made himself the deacon or servant of all. They will share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way, as they are marked with the diaconal character. Before they are ordained priests next year, God-willing, it is important that they first serve as deacons. And when they are ordained priests, they will still be deacons, since the priestly character will not erase their diaconal character.

“Jesus the priest was always the servant,” he continued. “And so it is with us. Underneath, this chasuble I am wearing a deacon’s dalmatic, the vestment of the deacon, which reminds me that as a bishop, I am also still a deacon.”

The five candidates lay prostrate on the floor of the sanctuary while the congregation sings the Litany of Supplication to the saints.

He also spoke to the five men about how they are examples of chastity, saying: “Today you commit yourselves to observing celibacy for the rest of your lives. This is a witness to Christ, who was celibate.  You will live this state of life, which Jesus himself lived: celibacy for the sake of the kingdom, so that you can serve God and his people with an undivided heart. Your chaste celibacy is to be a sign of pastoral charity and an inspiration to it, as well as a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. You will be freed more completely for the service of God and his church. Your consecration and commitment to celibacy is not a consecration to individualism or to a life of isolation. You are making a promise to put yourselves completely and unreservedly at the service of Christ and his body, the church. You receive this celibacy as a gift, a gift for others, not unlike the gift a husband receives in marriage to give himself to his wife and children. Through celibacy, you do not become aloof from interpersonal relationships. On the contrary, you enter into a deep relationship with Christ and, through him, with those whom you will serve.”

Bishop Rhoades then referenced the second reading of the day, from St. Peter. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God provides.” He said the deacons will be good stewards through preaching God’s word and serving God and his church. The deacons were asked to open themselves to the graces of the sacrament of holy orders every day, because “everything you do is to be done not for your own honor or popularity, but for the glory of God.”
Click here for more photos from the ordination.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.