By Ann Carey
SOUTH BEND — Three diocesan seminarians — Craig Borchard and David Violi of St. Pius X Parish in Granger, and Robert Garrow of St. Matthew Cathedral — were ordained to the diaconate Saturday, May 23, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.
It was the first time in many years that an ordination has taken place in South Bend, as ordinations normally are celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. However, since the three men being ordained are from the South Bend area, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades granted their request to have the ordination at St. Matthew, and their friends and families nearly filled the pews for the colorful ceremony.
Area Knights of Columbus formed an honor guard along the center aisle as the celebrant, Bishop Rhoades, concelebrating diocesan and visiting priests, diocesan deacons and seminarians, and other dignitaries processed into the cathedral. Also attending were members of several religious orders.
Bishop Rhoades opened the celebration by welcoming the parents, families and friends of the candidates before beginning the Rite of Ordination, which is rich with meaning and symbolism. The glory of the ceremony was enhanced by the voices and music of the Diocesan Choir and Cantus Cathedralis.
After the chanting of the Gospel came the Election of the Candidates, whereby each candidate is formally chosen for ordination and becomes referred to as the “elect.” Father Andrew Budzinski, parochial vicar at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, and diocesan vocation director, presented each candidate to Bishop Rhoades. Father Budzinski testified to the worthiness of each, after which Bishop Rhoades formally accepted the men to be ordained as deacon.
In his homily Bishop Rhoades noted that May 23 was the vigil of Pentecost: “Today we rejoice that the same Holy Spirit, who descended on the apostles on Pentecost, will descend upon three disciples of Jesus to strengthen them to serve the evangelizing mission of the church as deacons.”
Bishop Rhoades noted that the role of deacon is to assist the bishop and priests in divine worship, prepare the Eucharistic Sacrifice and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful. Alluding to the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles (8:26-40) that described the evangelizing work of Phillip, one of the original seven deacons of the Church, the bishop said that the new deacons will proclaim Jesus to people, explain Scriptures and baptize, just as Phillip did.
The bishop reminded the three men that to fulfill this mission, they must immerse themselves in God’s Word “to meet the living God and to be continually transformed by our encounter with Him in prayer.” He also stressed the “tremendous responsibility” of proclaiming the Gospel and preparing meaningful homilies that “prepare the faithful well for the Eucharist … help them grow in faith, hope, and charity and experience the joy and peace that the Gospel of Jesus brings to our lives.”
The Gospel for the ordination Mass was Luke’s (10:1-9) account of Jesus sending the 72 disciples forth to evangelize, and Bishop Rhoades compared that account to the present day.
“As it was 2,000 years ago, so it is today: The harvest is abundant, but laborers are few. I thank the Lord that He has heard the prayers of so many people of our diocese for more laborers for His harvest.”
The bishop encouraged the men to be strong in the face of the secularizing culture: “The Lord is sending you also like lambs among wolves,” the bishop reminded them. “We live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the faith. Secularism is becoming ever more pervasive and sometimes even militant, especially against the Catholic Church.
“Be prepared, but the Holy Spirit will be with you with His gift of courage. We, all of us who are ordained, must be courageous in our ministry, especially when we feel like lambs among wolves. Yes, we must be ready ever to suffer for the Lord, to love our enemies, and to seek to bring God’s peace, like the Lord instructed the 72 to bring peace to the households they visited. Like the 72, you are being sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of grace and peace.”
Bishop Rhoades concluded by thanking the three men for their courage and generosity in answering the call to lifelong service of Christ’s church, and he entrusted them and their ministry to Our Blessed Mother.
After the homily, the elect declared their intentions to assume the responsibility of the office of deacon, and promised celibacy, as well as obedience and respect to Bishop Rhoades and his successors. During the Litany of Supplication, the candidates lay prostrate on the sanctuary floor of the cathedral while the intercession of the saints and angels was invoked.
After the litany, Bishop Rhoades laid his hands on the head of each elect in accordance with the apostolic tradition and solemnly recited the Prayer of Ordination.
Each of the newly ordained was invested with the stole and dalmatic — the proper liturgical attire of the diaconate. Bishop Rhoades then handed each man the Book of the Gospels, symbolizing the task of the deacon 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 liturgical gesture known as the fraternal kiss of peace, and thereby welcomed the new deacons into their ministry. The other deacons present also welcomed the newly ordained, and the order of the Mass continued.
The joyous mood of the occasion continued after the Mass with a reception in
St. Matthew School gym. There, seminarian Eric Burgener of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne told Today’s Catholic he is very much looking forward to his own ordination as deacon next year.
Referring to the ordination of the three deacons, he observed: “God transforms these men; there is a huge gift God gives these men. You could almost see it in them; it’s God’s presence that changes them.”
Brian Borchard of Chicago, the only brother of Deacon Craig Borchard, said his brother had been looking forward to his ordination for years, adding that that the entire family was pleased to see Deacon Craig so happy.
For Father Glenn Kohrman, pastor of Holy Family Parish in South Bend, the ceremony brought back memories of his own ordination and the idea of service. He also found it very hopeful to see the fine young men who were choosing to become priests.
“My favorite part of an ordination is when they get the Book of the Gospels (and the bishop says) ‘Believe what you read; teach what you believe; and practice what you teach.’ I just love that beautiful aspect,” Father Kohrman said.
Franciscan Sister Marie Morgan, chair of the Theology Department at Marian High School in Mishawaka, had a special reason to celebrate the ordination, for Deacon David Violi was the first theology student of hers to be ordained a deacon for the diocese.
“I’m so proud,” Sister Marie said. “The day he graduated, he gave me a rosary that he had made for me. I told him I want him to bless it for me next year (when he is ordained a priest).
Franciscan Sister Angela Mellady, superior of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Immaculate Heart of Mary Province in Mishawaka, told Today’s Catholic that the sisters pray regularly for the seminarians, and the three deacon candidates had come to their convent during the week of their ordination to spend two days in prayer.
“It’s such a gift for our sisters in formation to interact with them, and they are such a witness to us. I really think they appreciate the fact the sisters are praying, especially during our Adoration,” Sister Angela said. “It’s such a gift to our diocese and to the church to have these young men.”
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