Thursday, May 23, 2024

Permanent Diaconate Candidates Instituted into Ministry of Lector

In a significant step toward their ordination to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate in 2026, the men in the diocese’s Permanent Diaconate Formation Program were instituted into the Ministry of Lector during a Solemn Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg on Saturday, May 11.

With their formators and family members looking on, each candidate was called forward to present himself to Bishop Timothy Senior during the Rite of Institution of Lectors. Individually, the candidates knelt before the bishop, who presented them with the holy Scripture.

The bishop instructed each candidate with the words “Take this book of holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His people.”

The candidates line up before the bishop as they’re called forth during the Rite of Institution of Lectors.
The candidates line up before the bishop as they’re called forth during the Rite of Institution of Lectors.

The current formation program for the permanent diaconate began in January of 2021. The men in the program were formally accepted as candidates through the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders last September, and are continuing studies in preparation for ordination in 2026. The candidates are:

Juan J. Alvarez-Ponce
Louis E. Carlson
Stephen J. Dietrich
Edward DiPilla
Richard B. Druby
Carlos Espinosa
Jeffrey F. Evich
Gregorio D. Figueroa
Rudolph K. Geisler
Michael A. Heidelbaugh
Samuel D. Nicola
Michael P. Nowakowski
Douglas E. Peterson
John A. Soubik
Mark A. Sullivan
Michael D. Tafelski

The men in the Permanent Diaconate Formation program are pictured with Bishop Timothy Senior, back row center, and Father John Bateman, Diocesan Director of the Deacon Formation Program, far right.
The men in the Permanent Diaconate Formation program are pictured with Bishop Timothy Senior, back row center, and Father John Bateman, Diocesan Director of the Deacon Formation Program, far right.

There have been four previous classes of deacons ordained for service in the Diocese of Harrisburg; they were in 1978, 1983, 2010 and 2020.

The Diaconate is an order of the Catholic clergy open to married and single men. As such, the Permanent Deacon is a member of the Church’s hierarchy, who is configured to Christ the Servant through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. They can perform a variety of roles in the Church. During Mass, as Ministers of the Word, they can proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons can baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services. As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others and working to match the Church’s resources to meet those needs. Deacons are to be a servant in a servant-Church.

(Photos courtesy of Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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