Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Another Step on the Road to Priesthood

The 10 men who were ordained as deacons by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio last weekend at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, will be joined by three more transitional deacons when they are ordained as priests of the diocese next spring. That ordination is scheduled to be held at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights, the first ordinations to be performed there since it was designated as a co-cathedral earlier this year.

This class represents a cross-section of the ethnic make-up of Brooklyn and Queens. To recognize that diversity, the Bishop spoke in Spanish, French-Creole and Italian, but mostly in English.

During their ordinations as deacons, the newest members of the diocesan clergy promised obedience to the Bishop and to live a celibate life while serving the people of the Diocese.

Bishop DiMarzio told them that they must “show hope to a dark world,” and he promised them that “God calls you and will give you the necessary gifts to fulfill your calling.”

While the men will return to St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, for the fall semester of theology studies, they also will spend weekends in parishes to get some practical on-the-job training about the everyday life of a priest. Actually, they all have been working in parishes, but they do so now as ordained clerics and as such they will be able to preach the Gospel, baptize, assist at the altar, and officiate at weddings. Whatever other service they perform will depend on what each pastor asks of the individual deacon.

Their lives have radically changed with the reception of Holy Orders and that transformation was not lost on the men.

“Although I have attended many ordinations, both for diaconate and for priesthood, I felt on Saturday as if I was attending my first,” said Deacon Jeremy Canna, who will help out at Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills. “The moment that remains sharply in my memory is the short walk from lying prostrate on the floor during the Litany of Supplication almost directly to the chair of Bishop DiMarzio for the laying on of hands. After the litany, which made me realize more than ever how little I am and how much assistance I need from Heaven, I felt that I had absolutely nothing for those few seconds until I received the grace of Orders, which started from the laying on of hands.”

Deacon Carlos Velasquez, who will assist at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, added, “I am filled with gratitude to Almighty God for the grace of being ordained a transitional deacon. And I am eagerly and joyfully awaiting my ordination to Christ’s holy priesthood in a few months. The love and support that I’ve received from so many friends and family over the past years, and in particular during this past weekend, is truly humbling. Even though I will eventually be ordained a priest, I hope that I will be able to live out the deacon’s ministry of service and charity every day of my life, with courage, love and lasting dedication to God’s holy will.”

“The ordination was really something else!” commented Jason Espinal, assigned to Regina Pacis, Bensonhurst. “The Spirit was truly present! These next few months will be a time of continued preparation in various ways. Two of those ways are: academically, I will be doing my best to just keep focused and complete the required course work for my last year in the seminary. And spiritually, I will continue to build my personal relationship with the Lord as I try to conform myself more and more in His image. At the same time I will continue to pray for all of the people and communities that have, and continue to, love, help, and support me through out my journey to the priesthood.”

The numbers of seminarians are increasing and as you can see, the quality is not to be overlooked.