NOTRE DAME — With joy and thanksgiving, the Congregation of Holy Cross celebrated the final profession of vows and ordination to the diaconate of five men last weekend.
Brian Kennedy, CSC; Karl Romkema Jr., CSC; Brogan Ryan, CSC; Michael Thomas, CSC; and Bryan Williams, CSC, professed final vows of chastity, poverty and obedience according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross and committed their lives and work to the communal life and ministry of Holy Cross at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame. Father William M. Lies, CSC, provincial superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers, presided at Mass and received the vows.
The next morning, Aug. 26, Kennedy, Romkema, Ryan and Williams were ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate in the Moreau Seminary Chapel by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
In his homily at the ordination Mass, Bishop Rhoades said the service of the ordained deacon is threefold: the ministry of the word, of the altar and of charity. Regarding the ministry of charity, he said to the men:
“Brian, Karl, Brogan and Bryan, I pray that you will always make the poor and the suffering a priority in your ministry. Diaconal charity embraces especially those who are hurting, who are lonely, who are marginalized and forgotten. You are being ordained today especially to serve the poor and the suffering, to bring them the hope of the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.
“In fact,” he said, “the service of charity is often considered the origin of the diaconate – in the election of the seven disciples in the Acts of the Apostles. They were men filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, who were chosen to assist the apostles in the daily ministry of charity, distributing food to the neglected widows. The apostles prayed and laid hands on them, like I will do upon our four brothers in the rite of ordination today.”
Those present were blessed to witness a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the men as they were ordained. Bishop Rhoades and the congregation prayed that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them with His sevenfold gifts, that they may be faithful servants of Christ and His Church; and they prayed for them through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints.
“An especially important title of Our Lady for those being ordained deacons is the title ‘Handmaid of the Lord,’ the bishop said. “This is the title Mary gave to herself at the Annunciation. She said to the angel Gabriel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” I pray these words are in the hearts of our four brothers today. … My brothers, may Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, be ever at your side in your life and ministry! May you know her love for you and may she intercede for you always!”
Michael Thomas, CSC, will also be ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate at San Francisco de Sales Parish near St. George’s College in Santiago, Chile, on Sept. 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows — the special patron of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Most Reverend Arthur J. Colgan, CSC, auxiliary bishop of Chosica, Perú, will preside at that Mass.
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