May 12, 2015 // Local

Meet the three seminarians to be ordained to the diaconate

Ordination to the diaconate set May 23 at St. Matthew Cathedral

Three men from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend are preparing for their ordination to the diaconate. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will ordain seminarians Craig Borchard, Bob Garrow and David Violi at St. Matthew Cathedral, 1701 Miami St. in South Bend on May 23 at 11 a.m. Tickets are required, but there is limited general admission seating. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Craig Borchard to promise fidelity to God and His Church as deacon

SOUTH BEND — Craig Borchard has been praying fervently in anticipation of his upcoming ordination to the diaconate on May 23 at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. He not only prays for graces for himself and fellow seminarians but for the families of his next parish assignment.

“I have been meditating on the diaconate ordination rite all throughout this year. It has been an enriching exercise to pray with the words that the bishop will use to ordain me a deacon. The ordination is a focus of my prayer, and I especially have been praying for all the people that I will be preaching to this summer. I pray that the Lord gives me good words that will strengthen the faith of the people of God,” he says.

Borchard grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan, the son of Sandra and Phil Borchard. After graduating from Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 2004, Borchard went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2009.

Borchard’s faith formation was influenced by not only his inspiring teachers who encouraged him during his 24 straight years of Catholic education but also his father. “My dad was a big influence on my faith. He took me to Mass every week and was always an amazing role model of morality and faith,” he says.

But the soon-to-be deacon reports that God truly entered his heart during a high school retreat. “My biggest moment of faith formation was a Kairos retreat I went on in my senior year of high school. It was there that I had an extraordinary encounter with God that changed my life forever and set me on the course towards seminary,” he says.

Following that retreat Borchard “did a 180” and began to practice his newfound faith in earnest. He says, “It was just after that retreat that I first heard the call to the Priesthood. This extraordinary gift of God’s love had been given to me in the Eucharist, and after realizing that on the retreat, all I wanted was to give that gift back to the world.”

Borchard entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 2010 where he has found a rich educational experience as well as fraternity among the other seminarians. “While I am certainly excited to be nearing the end of my formal education, it is such a blessing to learn about the faith by many expert priests and laity assembled here at the Mount. I am receiving the best education that the Church can offer so that I can share that education with the people of God,” he says, adding, “We are all there for the same reason, to become holy men of God. We all support each other in that journey. That support includes having a lot of fun together as well! There are ample opportunities to develop lifelong friendships that will be so important as we all go our separate ways to begin priestly ministry.”

Summer parish assignments at St. Joseph in Fort Wayne and St. Anthony de Padua in South Bend taught him much about the Priesthood and parish life, says the eager seminarian and led him closer to the Priesthood. “I love getting to know the wonderful parish communities of our diocese,” he says, adding, “Then, of course, my home parish of St. Pius X in Granger has been unbelievably good to me. Msgr. Bill Schooler has been a great mentor and shown me the great joy of the Priesthood.”

As a deacon, Borchard looks forward most to performing Baptisms and weddings. “I trust that I will learn much about the infinite gratuity of God … the gift of Holy Orders is truly amazing and I cannot wait to experience it,” he says enthusiastically.

Support from friends has meant much to Borchard as he prepares for his special day. “My friends have been very supportive of my vocation and ordination. I may even have some friends from Philadelphia make it out for the diaconate. It will be a great moment of joy to see so many of my loved ones present there as I promise my fidelity to God and His Church,” he says.


Bob Garrow puts his trust in Jesus for diaconate

SOUTH BEND — Seminarian Robert A. Garrow has been spending time praying and trusting in Jesus as he prepares for his diaconate ordination on May 23 at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. “I turn to Jesus placing all my trust in Him. Trusting all that I do is for the glory of God,” he says.

A native of South Bend, Garrow is one of three sons of Mike and Norma Fitzmaurice. He calls St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend his home parish where he received the sacraments of Baptism, first Reconciliation, first Holy Communion, Confirmation and soon Holy Orders. A 1994 graduate of Marian High School, Garrow feels he first heard the call to the Priesthood in eighth grade, but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University in South Bend in 1999. For the next 11 years he taught in grades 7-12 and had the opportunity to coach high school and college basketball for 15 years.

But God continued to tug at his heart. “Later in my life I felt again the tug from God that I was being called to the Priesthood. I felt that I needed to discern this call. I did not feel worthy of this call, but I felt I needed to address this tug at my heart,” says the soon-to-be deacon.

Garrow credits the many fine priests and bishops he has encountered in his formative years as well as his dear grandparents Clare and Georgina Fitzmaurice and John and Edna Bunch for his deep faith formation. And he is grateful to St. Matthew pastor Msgr. Michael Heintz for his inspiration. “I feel that my current priest Msgr. Mike has helped me grow in my faith. He is so knowledgeable of the faith and has a wonderful sense of spirituality,” he says.

Five years ago, when Garrow was accepted into Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, in Emmitsburg, Maryland, he found a place where he could focus on deepening his relationship with God. “You truly see yourself and learn to conform your heart to Jesus, to love like He does,” he says. During his formation Garrow has had the opportunity to experience pastoral assignments at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, with hospital ministry, and working in campus ministry at Mount St. Mary’s University. He also has served as the chaplain for the Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball team. He is grateful for the “great priests and lay faculty that help one grow closer to Christ, both spiritually and academically.”

On his path to the Priesthood, Garrow has experienced summer parish assignments at St. Jude in Fort Wayne, St. Monica, Mishawaka, and St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne. “I was afforded the opportunity to work with wonderful pastors, associates, staff and the people of God,” he says. “At each stop it has only brought about more peace and joy, and has affirmed my sense of God’s call. … At each assignment I gained valuable experiences that will help me in the future. Additionally it only reinforced my call to the Priesthood as I grew more deeply in love with the dioceses every day.” He also spent eight weeks in Guatemala in order to understand the culture and learn the Spanish language.

In anticipation of his diaconate duties, Garrow has hope that in his diaconate year he will continue to conform his heart to Jesus. And he looks forward to working with parish priests, administering Baptisms and preparing couples for marriage, as well as “helping people see the beauty of our faith.” He hopes to learn more about parish life and how to administer a parish as well as spiritually feed the people of God.

Of his upcoming diaconate ordination Garrow says, “My family and friends are excited and happy about this ordination. When I received my call to the order of diaconate I received many well wishes from both family and friends. My family has been supportive during this process and I know they are proud.”


David Violi discerns a deeper understanding of God’s call in diaconate

SOUTH BEND — Since entering the seminary in 2010, David Violi has been preparing for May 23, his day of ordination to the diaconate at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, with prayer and study. “I am spending much time in prayer, contemplation and study concerning the diaconate, trying my best to come to an even deeper and deeper understanding of what God is calling me into,” he says.

A native of Granger and member of St. Pius X Parish, Violi is one of the four children of Mike and Mary Violi, including older sister Kristina, older brother Michael and his twin sister Jennifer. A graduate of both St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School, Elkhart, and Marian High School in Mishawaka, (Class of 2006), Violi attended Purdue University and earned his bachelor’s degree in biological science with a minor in philosophy.

This soon-to-be deacon first heard the call to the Priesthood around his eighth-grade year, focused greater attention on his spiritual life in high school and college and says his calling was not any one  moment, but an enduring longing. “My ‘calling’ to the Priesthood was not a single moment, but a constant desire that arose slowly from a young age. … Nearing graduation (from college), that desire remained and I knew that I needed to enter seminary to discern the Priesthood. From there, I began the application process with the diocese,” he says.

Born into the Catholic faith, Violi credits his family first for his ever-deepening faith, saying, “My parents, Mike and Mary, raised my siblings and me in the faith since birth and put a strong emphasis on participating in parish life and Catholic education.”

He adds that priests and friends were influential as well, “My parish priests also influenced my formation through their own vocations. Being involved in the Catholic schools, I often was able to see our priests living out their own priesthoods with a joy that left me with a great impression.”

Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has been home for Violi for the past five years where he has found an “amazing experience.”

“At Mount St. Mary’s, there has been, on average, 160 seminarians living in community every year for the past five years. To meet so many interesting men and develop close friendships with them has been a truly amazing experience. God has truly called a very diverse group, each with many unique talents, to the seminary. And, as diverse as we are, we are all able to live together simply because we are together for a single purpose: To be priests of Jesus Christ,” he says enthusiastically.

Looking forward to his diaconate, Violi feels that his past summer parish assignments at Most Precious Blood, Fort Wayne, St. Charles Borromeo, Fort Wayne, and St. Joseph, Garrett, have been of great value in his formation as future priest. “Summer parish assignments offer us a refreshing reminder as to why we are studying for the Priesthood. It reminds us for whom we are studying, the people of God in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Each assignment has offered its own challenges, as we are present in the parish for several weeks. But, meeting all of the wonderful people, being involved with schools and parishes, make all of the challenges worthwhile,” he says.

Becoming a deacon of the Church has Violi eager to learn the best ways to serve the people of God. In the coming year he hopes to have the opportunity, as he had in his past summer assignments, to mentor under a priest and learn the various needs of the people of God in the diocese. “Each experience I am able to have will only help me prepare for Priesthood and full-time parish ministry,” he says.

Seminarian Violi is looking forward to his diaconate and the many ways he will serve. “As a deacon, I am most looking forward to preaching at Mass. To be able to expound upon the Word of God to the faithful is truly a daunting and terrifying endeavor, but one that also sets my heart on fire as I will be able to share the love of God through preaching,” he reports eagerly.

As he looks forward to the rich traditional Rite of Ordination to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate, Violi is grateful for the loving support he has enjoyed throughout his seminary faith formation. “I am blessed to have had a family that has been wonderfully supportive of my vocation. I look forward to sharing this day with them,” he says with great joy.

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