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10 men take first formal step toward becoming deacons

Image: Deacon aspirants and their wives at Deacon RetreatThe public was invited to attend this special Mass with Bishop Walkowiak presiding.

We are pleased and excited to share that ten men of our diocese were admitted to candidacy for the permanent diaconate during a Mass at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4 at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Grand Rapids. This was the first formal step along their path to becoming deacons for the Church.

The men accepted into the rite of candidacy, and their wives are:

Jon and Beth Bowen, St. Joseph Parish, Weare
Dan and Patricia Esch, St. Jude Parish, Grand Rapids
Michael and Fran Hollern, Holy Family Parish, Caledonia
Thu and Hong Le, Our Lady of La-Vang Parish, Wyoming
Donato and Maria Perez, Shrine of St. Francis and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Grand Rapids
Brian and Carmen Piecuch, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Holland
Tom and Cindy Roberts, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Grand Rapids
José and Carmen Saucedo, St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Wyoming
Greg and Cheryl Sokolowski, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Belmont
John and Suzette Teeples, Holy Redeemer Parish, Jenison

During the celebration of Mass, Bishop Walkowiak instructed the men that they are now entering into an important phase of formation where their aptitude and readiness for Holy Orders will be examined. They were then called forward by name and promised to continue to prepare themselves in mind and spirit for service to the Church.
 
The rite of candidacy follows a year-long period of discernment which continues during the three years of formation to come. This period focuses on the spiritual and human aspects of ministry as well as intellectual and pastoral training. Throughout classroom training and practical ministry exposure, the candidates will experience steady spiritual guidance and maintain active prayer lives. As their formation continues, the men will be instituted as lectors and acolytes before being ordained as deacons. A lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. He may also announce the intentions for the Universal Prayer and, in the absence of a psalmist, recite the Psalm between the readings" (GIRM #99). "The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest and Deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister" (GIRM #98).
 
Deacons are one of three major orders of the sacrament of holy orders and they serve the Church in rich and varied ways. Deacons may officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals, read the Gospel and preach at Mass, and help with the canonical process for marriage and baptism, but one of their greatest priorities is service to the poor and marginalized. 

Related

Do you feel called to the permanent diaconate? 

The next class of deacons is currently being formed. The deadline for applications is March 2019. Click here to learn more.
 
About the photo: The ten deacon aspirants and their wives during the 2018 Deacons Retreat in DeWitt, Mich.