Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
Smith ordains deacons
11 married men ordained, 1 on road to priesthood
By GLEN ARGAN
It was with joy and awe that the Edmonton Archdiocese welcomed its first class of permanent deacons July 4.
In a moving celebration at St. Joseph Basilica, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith ordained 11 married men to the permanent diaconate and Michael Schumacher to the transitional diaconate as a final preparation for his ordination to the priesthood.
While three permanent deacons already serve in the archdiocese, all were educated and formed elsewhere before coming here.
The new deacons are men who have worked or are working in business, the civil service, education, farming, professional life or law enforcement. All have extensive ministry experience in the Church.
Having undergone a four-year period of formation, they will now serve in parishes across the archdiocese with a threefold ministry of Word, sacrament and charity.
In his homily, Smith called the ordination celebration "testimony to the fidelity of God to his Church."
He reminded the men "that your ministry at the altar must never be separated from your service to those in need."
He encouraged them to model their lives on that of Christ the servant to whom they are configured through the sacrament of Holy Orders.
For the pastors of the 10 parishes from which the deacons hail, the arrival of the permanent diaconate means not only someone to share the workload, but also a new dimension to ministry.
Father Adam Lech, pastor of St. Joseph Basilica, the home parish of Deacon John Lindsay, said Lindsay's involvement will be "a great enrichment" to pastoral work there.
Already, Lindsay has been working with homeless people and panhandlers often found at the downtown church and has helped parish staff understand how to react to those people, Lech told the WCR.
"John will be a great help especially with his experience as a lawyer and chief of police."
Lech also said that he hopes the presence of a deacon will encourage others to consider a religious vocation.
Ron Woytiuk, director of the formation program for the permanent diaconate, said he feels fortunate to have shared the last four years with those preparing.
The men in the program not only shared one weekend a month together in the formation program, but also visited each others' homes, went camping together and attended events like the Catholic Family Life Conference together. They are a group "tightly bound by faith, by friendship," Woytiuk said.
"The chemistry among them is so strong that they're like brothers."
Woytiuk noted that Archbishop Thomas Collins, who launched the permanent diaconate program, was a biblical scholar who gave the program a strong focus on Scripture.
"These men who were ordained are prepared to preach and have a strong foundation in Scripture," he said.
Another five men have recently completed their second year of formation for the permanent diaconate while a third group of up to nine men will begin formation in the fall.
Along with Schumacher, those ordained to the diaconate on July 4 were:
- Mauricio Amador
- Claude Baril
- Paul Croteau
- Leo Farley
- Jose Huezo
- Stan Kroetsch
- John Lindsay
- Donald Logan
- Kenneth Noster
- Lynn Pio
- Douglas Tien